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Oilfield Review

Summer 2005

Wellbore Cleanout
Rapid Petrophysical Answers
Fibers for Hydraulic Fracturing
Casing Directional Drilling
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05_OR_003_0
Cultivating the Technical Talent of the Future

In a business that has a reputation for being ruthlessly professors, liaisons between African scientists and top
cyclic, it is relatively comforting to know that we are cur- Western universities, a program called Faculty for the
rently in an up cycle of great activity and likely to remain Future that funds women professors, and more programs
there for some years. The worlds oil and gas production is too numerous to mention here. Contributing to university
strained by demand, and oil prices continue to rise. Ask excellence remains a high priority.
most people in this business and they will tell you they have Recognizing that we could contribute at all stages in the
never been busier. educational chain, we founded the volunteer-based
So far, so good. But looking to the future, we see looming Schlumberger Excellence in Educational Development
capacity shortages not just in technology and equipment, (SEED) program that connects under-resourced schools
but also in that most precious resource of allpeople. For to the Internet and provides them with a comprehensive,
years Schlumberger has based its vision on three key multilingual science education Web site and access to
principles: people, technology and profitabilityI suspect practicing scientists and engineers. It has taken time, but
most exploration and production businesses claim similar we have now connected 131 schools in 32 countries. In
guidelines. It is not surprising that the category people Africa, 30,000 schoolchildren have access to this program.
heads the list, because no business succeeds without talent. In several countries, we have brought many children together
Most worrisome for some, however, is the availability of in workshops to study environmental and other issues.
technical talent. The Schlumberger Foundation is another mechanism at
There has been much talk in recent years about the our disposal to promote education, particularly science
impending crew change, which refers to the fact that a education. This foundation supports students from develop-
majority of the industrys technical talent is approaching ing countries, helping them attend United World Colleges,
retirement while too few young experts are being trained a respected worldwide educational network, and also
to replace them. Exacerbated by todays strong growth, the maintains the traveling Lab-in-the-Lorry program that
effects of the crew change are beginning to be felt, but this brings experiments and scientists to children.
talent shortage phenomenon is primarily seen in the West. The technical talent of tomorrow is everywhere to be
The number of petroleum engineering graduates entering seen. Just give everyone the chance to become tomorrows
the workplace from US universities dropped dramatically engineer and scientistwe believe that is the secret to
in the mid- to late 1980s and never recovered, but the securing technical talent for the future.
number graduating in Asia-Pacific countries, to mention
just one area, is now huge. There is no crew change in
those emerging economies.
At Schlumberger, we see two essential components to
securing tomorrows technical talent. Firstand this was
a bet we made 25 years agois to hire engineers and sci-
Chakib Sbiti
entists in every country where we worked, in numbers Executive Vice President, Schlumberger Oilfield Services
roughly proportional to our activity in each country. Then Paris, France
we opted to treat everyone the same, from training, to
Chakib Sbiti, Executive Vice President of Schlumberger Oilfield Services (OFS),
career, to compensation. That is why today we are a veritable
manages oilfield technology development and all operations in the OFS business
United Nations of engineers, and we do not worry about a segment worldwide. Prior to assuming this position in 2003, he was president,
crew change of our own. Middle East and Asia, Schlumberger OFS for two years. He also served as
The second component is deeper and grew naturally director of personnel, Oilfield Services, Paris; and vice president, Wireline &
Testing, Europe, Africa and the Mediterranean. Chakib joined Schlumberger in
from the first. It comprises a portfolio of educational 1981 as a field engineer after studying electrical engineering in France.
initiatives in all countries where we worksome relating
to our business, others addressing social needs. It started
with simple university relations to back up our recruiting,
but this activity now encompasses 140 engineering schools
worldwide. We promote numerous sabbatical programs for

1
Schlumberger

Oilfield Review
Executive Editor 4 Integrated Wellbore Cleanout Systems: Improving
Mark A. Andersen Efficiency and Reducing Risk
Advisory Editor
Gretchen M. Gillis
Accumulation of sand and other materials in a wellbore may
have catastrophic effects on oil flow. By integrating process,
Senior Editors chemistry and downhole tool technology, engineers now safely
Mark E. Teel
Matt Garber and efficiently remove this debris from wells. Case histories
from North America, the North Sea and Malaysia demonstrate
Editors how careful planning and process integration save time,
Don Williamson
Roopa Gir reduce cost and risk, and help operators return wells to
Matt Varhaug production more quickly.
Contributing Editors
Rana Rottenberg
Joan Mead
Erik B. Nelson
Julian Singer 14 Spectroscopy: The Key to Rapid, Reliable
Petrophysical Answers
Design/Production
Herring Design A new log interpretation technique obtains rock properties
Steve Freeman
from elemental concentrations with nearly automatic
Illustration processing of data from modern spectroscopy and conventional
Tom McNeff
Mike Messinger
logging tools. The method provides fast, objective and reliable
George Stewart interpretations to make completion decisions. Case studies
from Egypt, Venezuela and the North Sea illustrate the technique.
Printing
Wetmore Printing Company
Curtis Weeks

On the cover:

Accumulation of sand and solids in


wellbores significantly impairs oil and
gas production. A field specialist lowers
a coiled tubing-conveyed jetting tool
into a wellbore during a field test at the
Schlumberger Reservoir Completions
Technology Center, Rosharon, Texas, Useful links: Address editorial Address distribution inquiries to:
USA. The new tool design significantly correspondence to: Matt Garber
improves solids removal efficiency Schlumberger Oilfield Review Schlumberger Cambridge Research
during wellbore-cleanout operations. www.slb.com 1325 S. Dairy Ashford High Cross, Madingley Road
Houston, Texas 77077 USA Cambridge, England CB3 0EL
Oilfield Review Archive (1) 281-285-7847 (44) 1223 325 377
www.slb.com/oilfieldreview Fax: (1) 281-285-1537 Fax: (44) 1223 361 473
E-mail: editorOilfieldReview@slb.com E-mail: mgarber@cambridge.oilfield.slb.com
Oilfield Glossary
www.glossary.oilfield.slb.com

2
Summer 2005
Volume 17
Number 2

34 New Fibers for Hydraulic Fracturing Advisory Panel


Syed A. Ali
An innovative fracturing fluid incorporates special fibers to Chevron Energy Technology Co.
improve proppant transport. This new technology significantly Houston, Texas, USA
reduces the fluid viscosity required for effective proppant trans- Abdulla I. Al-Kubaisy
port. This article reviews fiber-assisted transport and presents Saudi Aramco
Ras Tanura, Saudi Arabia
case histories that illustrate how fibers help engineers design
George King
optimal fracturing treatments and improve stimulation results. BP
Houston, Texas
Eteng A. Salam
PERTAMINA
Jakarta, Indonesia
Y.B. Sinha
New Delhi, India
Sjur Talstad
44 Using Casing to Drill Directional Wells Statoil
Stavanger, Norway
During the past five years, more than 350 vertical intervals
and about a dozen inclined sections have been drilled with Richard Woodhouse
Independent consultant
casing. Among oil and gas companies, however, there is Surrey, England
interest in applying this technique to drill in problematic
offshore fields where high-angle wells are common. We review
the use of larger tubulars for drilling operations and present
results from work in south Texas, including a multiwell
comparison of casing directional drilling with both downhole
motors and rotary steerable systems.

62 Contributors

65 New Books

66 Coming in Oilfield Review

Address editorial (44) 1223 325 377 Barbour Square, High Street
correspondence to: Fax: (44) 1223 361 473 Tattenhall, Chester CH3 9RF England
Oilfield Review E-mail: (44) 1829-770569
1325 S. Dairy Ashford mgarber@cambridge.oilfield.slb.com Fax: (44) 1829-771354
Houston, Texas 77077 USA E-mail: orservices@t-e-s.co.uk
(1) 281-285-7847 Oilfield Review subscriptions www.oilfieldreview.com
Fax: (1) 281-285-1537 are available from: Annual subscriptions, including postage,
E-mail: editorOilfieldReview@slb.com Oilfield Review Services are 180.00 US dollars, subject to
exchange-rate fluctuations.
Address distribution inquiries to:
Matt Garber Oilfield Review is published quarterly by
Schlumberger Cambridge Research Schlumberger to communicate technical
High Cross, Madingley Road advances in finding and producing hydro-
Cambridge, England CB3 0EL
3
Integrated Wellbore Cleanout Systems:
Improving Efciency and Reducing Risk

Accumulation of sand and solids in wellbores signicantly impairs oil and gas
production. In fact, nearly half of all coiled tubing operations involve well
cleanouts to remove debris. Innovative integration of hardware, software, uid
cleanout systems and treatment monitoring helps engineers reduce the cost and
risk of wellbore cleanout operations and return wells to production more quickly.

Azhar Ali Movement of sand and accumulation of debris Today, engineers use safer and more efcient
PETRONAS Carigali Sdn Bhd (PCSB) can have a considerable impact on uid ow. On methods to remove sand and other debris from a
Kerteh, Malaysia the surface, a river can deposit so much silt that wellbore. In this article, case histories from
it blocks its own ow, changing its course and North America, the North Sea and Malaysia
Curtis G. Blount perhaps threatening farmland and communities. demonstrate how carefully designed and
ConocoPhillips
Similarly, downhole in a well, inux of sand can integrated wellbore cleanout processes save
Anchorage, Alaska, USA
impair or stop the ow of oil from a reservoir. time, reduce cost and risk, and improve
Stephen Hill Sand ll and debris are not new wellbore operational efficiency, while also allowing
Jai Pokhriyal problems. Generations of oileld engineers have operators to produce more oil.
Xiaowei Weng faced the challenge of keeping wellbores cleaned
Sugar Land, Texas, USA out. In 1901, the Jennings Oil Company Clement Moving Solids up the Wellbore
No. 1 well in southwestern Louisiana, USA, Wellbore ll is a major concern for operators
M. J. Loveland gushed oil at an estimated rate of 7,000 bbl/d throughout the world. This production-inhibiting
ConocoPhillips [1,113 m3/d].1 Unfortunately for these early oil problem is commonly dealt with through coiled
Kuparuk, Alaska pioneers, prosperity was short-lived. After seven tubing (CT) interventions. However, as wellbores
hours of production, formation sand plugged and completions become more complex and as
Shahril Mokhtar
more than 1,000 ft [305 m] of casing, stiing oil reserves are produced under increasingly difcult
Kemaman, Malaysia
production along with dreams of riches and conditions, there are environments where
Jessica Pedota wealth. Attempts to remove the sand from this conventional coiled tubing cleanout techniques
Prudhoe Bay, Alaska wellbore eventually failed and the prospect are not adequate for effective ll removal.
was abandoned. Wellbore cleanouts were among the first
Mads Rdsj Around the same time, oil prospectors in applications for coiled tubing services. Global
BP Norge AS Texas began using a novel technique to deal with estimates suggest that nearly 50% of CT jobs
Stavanger, Norway oil-production declinethe torpedo.2 A torpedo are performed to remove mobile solids and
man carefully lowered substantial quantities of debris, such as produced sand or residual
Radovan Rolovic nitroglycerine down the wellbore. Once the proppant from hydraulic-fracturing treatments.3
Stonehouse, England nitroglycerine containers reached their target, a Continued developments in CT conveyance
weight was dropped in the hole, initiating a systems generally have allowed operators to keep
Wei Zhou
sequence of events that climaxed in a pace with increasingly greater well depths, more
Stavanger, Norway
spectacular explosion, and with any luck, tortuous boreholes and more difcult downhole
For help in preparation of this article, thanks to Marc Allcorn, stimulated the well, removing debris from the environmental conditions.4
Sugar Land, Texas, USA; and Markus Andre Karlsen, wellbore and reinitiating the ow of oil.
Bergen, Norway.
CoilCADE and PowerCLEAN are marks of Schlumberger.

4 Oileld Review
The most common technique for deviated uphole some distance in a process known as
1. Adapted from an article by Shelia Esthay, Jennings Daily
wellbore cleanout uses a jetting tool conveyed sweeping. How large a bite is taken and how far News, http://www.dnr.state.la.us/cons/rst-well.ssi
downhole by CT. While pumping cleanout uid the tool is pulled uphole is dependent on many (accessed March 2, 2005).
2. Olien RM: The Oil Field Shooters, http://www.
down the tubing, the tool is lowered, or washed, parameters including ow rate, the type of ll, texancultures.utsa.edu/hiddenhistory/pages1/
into the sand or other debris, often called ll. At tubing and casing sizes, the cleanout uid used, OilenOilShooter.htm (accessed March 2, 2005).
some distance, or bite, into the ll, downward nozzle design, bottomhole pressure and wellbore 3. Rolovic R, Weng X, Hill S, Robinson G, Zemlak K and
Najafov J: An Integrated System Approach to Wellbore
motion is stopped. While continuing to circulate trajectory. Occasionally, the sweep will have to be Cleanouts with Coiled Tubing, paper SPE 89333,
cleanout uid, the jetting tool is slowly pulled brought all the way back to surface before taking presented at the SPE/ICoTA Coiled Tubing Conference
and Exhibition, The Woodlands, Texas, USA,
the next bite. Once the ll has been swept March 2324, 2004.
upward to a predetermined depth, the tool is 4. For more on coiled tubing: Afghoul AC, Amaravadi S,
Boumali A, Calmeto JCN, Lima J, Lovell J, Tinkham S,
Zemlak K and Staal T: Coiled Tubing: The Next Generation,
Oileld Review 16, no. 1 (Spring 2004): 3857.

Summer 2005 5
A returned to bottom, taking the next bite of ll. The
process is repeated until all ll has been mobilized
and removed from the wellbore (left).
The jetting tool, or wash nozzle, is generally
designed to create uid turbulence that helps
mobilize and suspend solid particles. However,
for inclined wellbores, turbulence decreases as
distance from the nozzles increases, and solids
often form beds on the lower side of a wellbore as
they fall, or slip, from suspension. As the height
of this solids bed increases, less of the wellbore
cross section is available for ow, so uid velocity
across the surface of the bed increases until it
reaches a critical mobilization velocity. Once this
velocity is achieved, all or a portion of the ll
B disperses, is remixed with the cleanout uid and
is transported toward the surface, often forming
a new bed farther up the hole.
As the jetting tool moves upward toward a
newly formed bed, turbulence generated by the
jetting action also helps to mobilize the ll,
transporting it uphole until solids again settle.
The cycle repeats, pushing the bed uphole as the
CT is pulled up the wellbore. If the CT speed is
too fast or the jetting nozzle is inappropriate for
the application, solids will be bypassed and
unevenly distributed along the wellbore,
resulting in only a partial cleanout and the need
for further remedial treatment. This problem
may also occur when ow rates are too low or the
C
carrier uid is incorrectly designed.

D
< Steps in the cleanout process. A typical well-
bore cleanout process involves several steps.
First, coiled tubing conveys the cleanout tool to
the top of the ll (A). In image B, the tool enters
the ll while circulating, is washing and mobilizing
the solids, and has taken a bite. Then, in image C,
a preplanned bite length has been reached and
the jetting tool is being pulled up toward the liner
top, initiating the sweeping process. In image D,
the ll is being swept through a portion of the
critical angle (40 to 65 degrees) section of hole.
Generally, once solids are swept to the top of the
liner, the nozzle is returned to bottom, the next
bite is taken, and the process repeats until all
solids have been removed from the wellbore.

6 Oileld Review
Integrating Cleanout Systems
Engineers consider many factors when designing
wellbore cleanouts, including well-completion
geometry, wellbore deviation, cleanout fluid
properties, uid ow rate, circulating pressure
limits, bottomhole pressure and temperature,
the type of solids that must be removed, and the
length along which solids must be transported.
Most often, higher ow rates, smaller completion
sizes, lighter and more angularly shaped solids,
lower deviations and downhole temperatures,
and shorter distances for solids transport lead to
easier cleanouts. However, at angles between 40
and 65 degrees, the effects of well inclination can
make almost any wellbore difcult to clean.5
Schlumberger began integrating wellbore
cleanout systems in 2002 at the Schlumberger
Integrated Productivity and Conveyance Center
(IPC) in Sugar Land, Texas. Engineers rst used
ow-loop data to validate and improve earlier
theoretical models and computer algorithms
(right). Realizing that no single aspect of the
cleanout process determines success or failure,
engineers exploited system synergies and
developed the integrated PowerCLEAN
engineered fill removal system. Software
applications, cleanout fluids, jetting-tool and
nozzle design and solids-removal monitoring
were combined into one system enabling
engineers to design cost-effective cleanout
solutions for sand, bauxite and other debris
under a wide range of wellbore conditions,
including wells with large casing sizes, high
> Large-scale ow-loop simulations. Engineers at IPC used the 7.0-in. transparent ow loop (top)
temperatures and difcult borehole trajectories.
and various coiled tubing sizes to evaluate solids transport for various uids and wash nozzle
The basic techniques behind modern CT congurations at deviations ranging from 45 to 75 from vertical. Cleanout efciency was evaluated
wellbore cleanout operations are all similar. True while varying the type of ll, annular velocities and solids loading. Tests also helped optimize nozzle
differentiation exists in the integration of key design for maximum penetration rate, particle suspension and sweeping speeds (bottom).
technical elements such as software, cleanout
uids, nozzles and solids monitoring.
SoftwareThe PowerCLEAN job-design
software serves as the integrating platform for By adjusting operating procedures, engineers difcult wellbore environments. To address this
wellbore cleanout optimization. For any given set ensure that the solids bed height will not exceed critical need, Schlumberger researchers
of wellbore and operating conditions, the a predetermined portion of the wellbore cross- developed the PowerCLEAN uid system.
software evaluates and optimizes cleanout uids sectional area, thereby minimizing friction and Engineers carefully considered the impli-
with respect to a series of variables, including tubing drag, equivalent circulating density cations of thermal effects on viscosity and
the maximum uid ow rate for a maximum (ECD), and the risk of stuck tubing.6 subsequent hole-cleaning efciency. Although
allowable circulating pressure; bottomhole Cleanout uidsFluids used in wellbore velocity plays a more important role in transport
pressure limitations; maximum CT run-in-hole cleanout operations were often developed for efciency under dynamic conditions, increasing
(RIH) speed and bite length when penetrating other oilfield operations, such as hydraulic fluid viscosity can forestall static settling.7
the fill; solids bed formation and behavior fracturing and gravel packing. In CT operations, Higher uid viscosities tend to increase frictional
relative to sweeping requirements; optimal CT cleanout performance demands on uid systems pressures and reduce ow rates at the expense of
pulling speed for sweeping; and sweep length are high. Hydraulic diameters are often small and
5. Rolovic et al, reference 3.
before taking the next bite of ll. require that engineers balance solids-transport
6. Equivalent circulating density is the effective density
Additional parameters may be set in the efficiency requirements and fluid viscosity exerted by a circulating uid against the formation that
design software to ensure a safe, efcient and against ow rates, and bottomhole temperatures takes into account the pressure drop in the annulus
above the point being considered.
problem-free cleanout. For example, the and pressures. These and other demands make 7. Rolovic et al, reference 3.
software can predict the height of solids beds many existing cleanout fluids inadequate in
that form on the low side of an inclined wellbore.

Summer 2005 7
0.5-gal/bbl
Rheology of Various Cleanout Fluids PowerCLEAN gel Solids Transport Length
90 1.75-lbm/bbl welan (20/40 Sand at 30 ft/min Fluid Velocity)
Viscosity at 170 sec-1, cP

80 1.75-lbm/bbl xanthan
70 1.75-lbm/bbl guar
60
50

Fluid
40
30
20
10
0 0.00 0.25 0.50 0.75 1.00 1.25
50 100 150 200 250 300 350 Fluid Friction Pressure in 1.5-in. OD
Normalized transport length
Straight Coiled Tubing
Temperature, F
500
0.25-gal/bbl

Pressure drop per 1,000 ft, psl


450
> Evaluating cleanout uids. Laboratory analysis PowerCLEAN gel
400
350 1.75-lbm/bbl xanthan
shows that the PowerCLEAN uid exhibits
300 1.75-lbm/bbl guar
thermal stability to just below 325F (orange
curve - left). Laboratory tests have shown that 250
200
circulating friction pressures of PowerCLEAN 150
gel (orange) are low when compared with those Water
100 1.75-lbm/bbl welan
of common cleanout uids (middle). In this test, 50
a low-friction solution of water and friction 1.75-lbm/bbl guar
0
0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5 1.75-lbm/bbl xanthan
reducer is shown for comparison purposes (light
Flow rate, bbl/min 0.5-gal/bbl PowerCLEAN gel
blue curve). Also, when compared with xanthan-
1.05-gal/bbl friction reducer
base uid (pink), the PowerCLEAN uid (orange)
shows a 100% improvement in carrying capacity
at lower concentrations (right).

Circulating pressure
Corrected depth
Pump rate
Total volume of solids removed
> Monitoring solids removal from the Solids return rate
wellbore. The solids monitoring system PowerCLEAN Real-Time Data Output
uses acoustic signals to monitor the 800 6,000 2.0
amount of solids being removed from 4,000
the wellbore. The measuring device is
noninvasive and attaches to the return 5,000
line from the wellhead (top left and
Total volume solids removed, lbm

1.5
right). A computer interface monitors
Solids return rate, lbm/min

700 3,000
the device throughout the job. Data 4,000
Pump rate, bbl/min

output (right) shows the solids return


Pressure, psi
Depth, ft

rate versus time (red) and an estimate


3,000 1.0
of total solids removed (black). Unusual 2,000
changes in the data alert engineers to 600
potential problems during the job. 2,000
0.5 1,000
1,000
500

0 0 0
13:07:19 15:53:59 18:40:39 21:27:19 00:13:59
Time

8 Oileld Review
effective hole cleaning. Thermal effects can have
signicant deleterious effects on polymer uids,
reducing viscosity and limiting static suspension
capacity (previous page, top).
Engineers at IPC used horizontal ow loops to
investigate particle-settling velocity under
various owing conditions. The viscosity prole of Performance of Various Nozzles
a solution containing PowerCLEAN gel exhibited (Water, 60-degree Deviation)

CT pulling out of hole speed, ft/min


50
pronounced shear thinning. Further tests showed
that the fluid system provides acceptable 40
viscosity at temperatures up to 325F [163C].
30
In some cases advanced uid systems are not
needed and ordinary uids, such as water, guar, 20
hydroxyethylcellulose (HEC), xanthan, welan 10
and viscoelastic surfactant-base uids, can be
used effectively with the PowerCLEAN system. 0
20 40 60 80 100
An important factor in this process is selection of Annular fluid velocity, ft/min
the correct fluid for a given application,
PowerCLEAN nozzle
complementing velocity requirements, nozzle Forward and backward jets
design and wellbore conditions. Forward jets only
NozzlesAvailable designs include nozzles Backward jets only
that jet both forward and backward, those that
jet forward only, those that jet backward only and
those that can be switched on demand from
forward to backward. Any of these combinations
may include radial swirl-inducing features. IPC
engineers designed new nozzles using
theoretical studies and empirical cleanout tests
in 3.5- and 7-in. test loops. The nozzles are
designed to ensure complete and efficient
removal of solids from most wellbore
congurations using uids ranging from water to
viscosied cleanout uids.
PowerCLEAN nozzles have no moving parts
and provide continuous jetting to create a
> Washing ll from the wellbore. The PowerCLEAN nozzle (bottom right) outperforms other nozzle
swirling effect. Nozzle focus, direction, size and
designs. In laboratory tests using a 7.5-in. [190.5-mm] ow loop, higher achievable pumping rates and
spacing are specically designed for wellbore annular velocities coupled with the swirling effects (left) achieved by the nozzle design help keep
cleanouts of unconsolidated fill, optimizing solids in suspension longer, allowing the CT to be pulled at faster rates, saving time and improving
available fluid energy for particle lift and efciency (top right).
suspension (right). The pressure drop across the
PowerCLEAN nozzle is relatively small, typically
100 to 400 psi [689 to 2,758 kPa] at ow rates
between 1 and 3 bbl/min [159 and 477 L/min].
The small pressure drop across the nozzle allows
for higher ow rates and uid velocities in the sensor location as a function of time. Observing Wells operated by ConocoPhillips in the
wellbore, which are essential for effective the trend of solids returning to surface during a Kuparuk River Unit on the North Slope of Alaska,
removal of wellbore ll. cleanout job provides a means of verifying the USA, often have wellbore fill that hampers
Solids monitoringEnsuring that solids are performance of PowerCLEAN systems. Potential production and increases operating cost at some
being removed from the wellbore at predicted problems can be anticipated and corrective point in their life cycle.8 Wellbore trajectories
rates is critical to job success. An important action taken. can be tortuous; in some cases, undulations more
component of the PowerCLEAN system is the
8. Loveland MJ and Pedota J: Case History: Efcient
solids monitoring device, an acoustic sensor that Cleaning Undulating Trajectories in Alaska Coiled-Tubing Sand Cleanout in a High-Angle Well Using
measures the energy associated with the Integrating wellbore cleanout system components a Complete Integrated Cleaning System, paper SPE
94179, presented at the SPE/ICoTA Coiled Tubing
collisions of solids on the inside surface of a pipe allows engineers to successfully remove solids Conference and Exhibition, The Woodlands, Texas,
(previous page, bottom). This energy is processed and debris from wellbores that were previously April 1213, 2005.
to detect the volume of solids passing by the considered too complex for cleanout or those in
which remedial treatments were not considered
cost-effective.

Summer 2005 9
than 140 ft [43 m] from crest to trough make
0
sand removal efforts difcult (right).
Early in 2003, drillers completed a well across 1,000
a 5,000-ft [1,524-m] horizontal section of the low-

True vertical depth, ft


pressure West Sak sand. With the assistance of a 2,000
jet pump, the well initially produced up to
660 bbl/d [105 m3/d] of oil. 3,000
In September 2003, the well was shut in to 8,750 ft 11,250 ft
change the artificial lift system. During the 4,000
4 12-in. tubing string
workover, the slickline encountered ll near the
5,000
top of the liner at 6,580 ft [2,006 m]. During the
next month, Schlumberger eld specialists ran
6,000
CT into the wellbore, tagging ll at 8,775 ft
[2,675 m] coiled tubing measured depth (CTMD). 2,000 0 -2,000 -4,000
Horizontal displacement, ft
Although slick-water with biopolymer gel pills Packer/liner hanger/
sealbore assembly
and slick-diesel combined with gelled diesel pills
were pumped through the CT to remove wellbore 5 12-in. liner, blank
2,300 ft
debris, no significant amount of solids was
brought to surface.9 Later, a review of the 140 ft
running-weight log indicated that the CT had not
tagged sand, but had reached its sliding-friction
limit, or a condition called helical lockup. 9 58-in. casing shoe at 6,767 ft 5 12-in. liner, perforated
In November 2003, the cleanout attempt was at every other joint
repeated with larger outside diameter (OD) CT. > A difcult wellbore trajectory in Alaska. The highly stratied nature of the multiple-target sands in
The CT eld specialist encountered greater than one of the West Sak sands of the Kuparuk River Unit, Alaska, led ConocoPhillips to drill Well IC-172
with a twisted and highly undulating borehole (top right). At 6,521 ft measured depth (3,930 feet
normal resistance while reentering the well,
[1,198 m] true vertical depth) the well opens up to a 512-in. preperforated liner that runs to 11,970 ft
which indicated that sand was distributed along [3,648 m]. The undulating nature of the wellbore allows for signicant solids-bed buildup and makes
the length of the wellbore. A solid sand plug was cleaning difcult.
tagged just above the liner top at 6,521 ft
[1,987 m] CTMD. A diesel-base cleanout uid
was pumped down the tubing at 2.1 bbl/min
[333.8 L/min] while taking 100-ft [30.5-m] bites required gas lift, either from natural gas, nozzle. The model also indicated that a single-
into the ll before sweeping to the bottom of the nitrogen or both. Due to the undulating geometry sweep operation was possible with a penetration
production tubing, or tubing tail. At 7,449 ft of this well, the exact concentration of fill rate of 7.2 ft/min [2.2 m/min] and bites of 124 ft
[2,270 m], returns were lost and the CT was was unknown. [37.8 m]. Each bite would need to be circulated
immediately pulled out of the wellbore. For uid volume comparison, engineers for 14 minutes before taking the next.
While pulling the CT to the surface, the eld assumed cleanouts in 500-ft [152-m] increments, During execution, an unexpected increase in
specialist noted high CT overpull, indicating that starting at 6,521 ft measured depth. Single-sweep wellhead pressure occurred. Rather than risk
some solids were being left behind along the cleanout simulations predicted that use of the losing returns, ConocoPhillips and Schlumberger
wellbore and were sliding down the tubing. PowerCLEAN gel would allow completion of engineers reevaluated the job design and reduced
However, as the jetting tool approached surface, cleanout operations in 6 hours using 1,000 bbl the ow rate to 3 bbl/min. The remodeled design
returns were regained and engineers observed a [159 m3] of uid and 220,000 ft3 [6,230 m3] of based on this new ow rate decreased nitrogen
signicant amount of sand, wetted with gelled nitrogen. Xanthan gels would require about ow to 800 ft3/min [22.6 m3/min], slowed the
diesel, being returned to surface. Following this 24 hours, 5,200 bbl [826 m3] of uid and 740,000 ft3 penetration rate to 7 ft/min [2.1 m/min] and
cleanout, the well produced for about a month [20,956 m3] of nitrogen, while welan uids would reduced the bite size to 120 ft [36.6 m]. Reducing
before sanding off again. need 29 hours, 5,200 bbl of uid and as much as the ow rate precluded a single-sweep circulating
Engineers from ConocoPhillips and 920,000 ft3 [26,054 m3] of nitrogen. As for diesel- cleanout, so engineers reverted to a multiple-
Schlumberger planned a third cleanout, this base uids, the high time estimates for a single- sweep process, bringing each sweep to the
time using the PowerCLEAN integrated cleanout sweep cleanout and uid volume requirements liner top.
system. The wellbore cleanout design modules precluded further consideration. Throughout the job, the Schlumberger eld
from CoilCADE coiled tubing design and Before the production liner was reached, gas engineer monitored the solids-removal rate using
evaluation software allowed engineers to hydrate and multiple sand bridges were cleaned the solids monitoring system, verifying the
evaluate several locally available cleanout uids, from the production tubing.10 The PowerCLEAN efciency of the cleanout design and solids-
including 2% potassium chloride [KCl], welan- software model recommended a uid ow rate carrying capacity of the PowerCLEAN system.
base, xanthan-base, diesel, gelled diesel and the of 4.6 bbl/min [731 L/min] with 900 ft3/min Unlike the earlier conventional cleanout systems,
PowerCLEAN gel system. Because of low [25.5 m3/min] of nitrogen through the optimized no heavy sand loads were seen while jetting out
bottomhole pressures (BHP), all uid options the last 1,000 ft to surface. Periodic manual

10 Oileld Review
sampling of uid returns veried the accuracy of rates from this well were around 1,000 bbl/d, method of stimulation by operator BP, formerly
the automated solids monitoring system. later stabilizing at 500 bbl/d [79 m3/d] of oil. The Amoco. In the North Sea, the cost of CT
A total of about 3,000 bbl [477 m3] of integrated cleanout system was successful in a operations is high and often requires a
PowerCLEAN fluid, 11,120 gal [42 m3] of well with low BHP, large internal-diameter stimulation vessel and a team of more than 20
nitrogen followed by about 500 bbl [79 m3] of completion and a long, undulating, horizontal completions and operations specialists. With
diesel were pumped. The surface uid-handling wellbore. ConocoPhillips and Schlumberger plan proppant-cleanout operations accounting for
equipment had limited capacity for nitrogen to continue using the system to help improve about 35% of CT utilization time in the Valhall
removal, so the PowerCLEAN uid could not be cleanout efciency on other difcult wells in the field, improving the efficiency of cleanout
recirculated and a higher than expected uid Kuparuk River Unit. operations would not only reduce cost, but would
volume was required. Improvements in degassing also bring wells on line faster, generating
methods are expected to signicantly reduce Improving Post-Stimulation Cleanout Efciency incremental production revenue (below).11
PowerCLEAN fluid volume requirements on As operators develop more low-permeability
9. Slick-water refers to a water-base uid with additives
future jobs. After the cleanout, CT running forces reservoirs, hydraulic-fracturing stimulation of designed to reduce friction pressure. Slick-diesel refers
predicted by CoilCADE modeling closely highly deviated or otherwise complex horizontal to an oil-base uid with friction-reducing additives.
matched actual measured values, indicating that wellbores has become a relatively standard 10. A gas hydrate is a solid crystalline structure consisting of
water with gas molecules in an ice-like cage congura-
no sand ll remained across the cleaned liner. practice. After fracturing, however, varying tion. Water molecules form a lattice structure into which
Experience gained working with ConocoPhillips amounts of proppant are left behind and must be many types of gas molecules can t. Most gases, except
hydrogen and helium, can form hydrates.
in Alaska helped Schlumberger engineers ne- removed before production begins (see New 11. Zhou W, Amaravadi S and Roedsjoe M: Valhall Field
tune the PowerCLEAN software modules to more Fibers for Hydraulic Fracturing, page 34). Coiled Tubing Post-Frac Proppant Cleanout Process
Optimization, paper SPE 94131, presented at the
accurately simulate and plan the entire wellbore Since 1996, hydraulic fracturing in the Valhall SPE/ICoTA Coiled Tubing Conference and Exhibition,
cleanout process. Initial post-job production eld, offshore Norway, has become the preferred The Woodlands, Texas, April 1213, 2005.

Final Start
Wait on rig rigdown rigup
and other delays Liner
3% 8% operations
Weather 8%
9%
delays
16%
Hydraulic
Nonproductive fracturing
time 15%
6%

Proppant cleanout
35%

NORWAY

Stavanger

Valhall field

Hod field DENMARK

UNITED KINGDOM
GERMANY

> Proppant removal in the North Sea. In the Valhall eld, centered approximately between Norway, Denmark, Germany and the UK
in the North Sea (bottom right), engineers at BP spend about a third of their time (top) dealing with post-stimulation wellbore cleanup.

Summer 2005 11
During 2004, engineers at BP and recommendations for maximum CT speed when Improving Cleanout Efciency in
Schlumberger built a database and documented penetrating ll or beginning the process of ll Mature Fields
the CT cleanout processes used during 29 runs in removal. Specic parameters, such as whether Located about 170 km [105.6 miles] northeast of
four completions. Each step in the cleanout solids formed a bed on the low side of a wellbore Kemaman, Terengganu, offshore Malaysia in the
process was benchmarked with 24 parameters and the most efcient bite length into or out of South China Sea, the Dulang field began
including proppant properties, start depth, the ll, helped determine nozzle selection, ow production in the early 1980s. Operated by
penetration speed and rates, sweep-range rates and uid rheology requirements. PETRONAS, the eld comprises four platforms,
depths, circulation rate, time at bottom, pulling The new design and recommendations helped each with 15 to 22 wells. As in many maturing oil
out of hole (POOH) rate and time consumed on engineers optimize circulation rate and select elds, maintaining production rate in the Dulang
each step. Of these parameters, engineers proper nozzles for each application. They also eld is a daunting task.
focused on optimizing total effective time (TET), were able to determine cleanout-uid rheology Although oil and gas wells in the Dulang eld
dened as the sum of penetrating time, time requirements, calculate running speeds and bite experience wax deposition, scaling and high
circulating bottoms-up and time washing from increments, and minimize or eliminate time on water cut, sand production remains the primary
bottom to surface. bottom circulating bottoms-up. Speeds as fast as cause of production decline. In 2004, at least
Using PowerCLEAN software modules, 20 m/min [66 ft/min] in the liner and tubing eight wells were shut in because of sand ll,
engineers analyzed previous cleanout operations sections were obtained while sweeping out while production slowly declined in many others.
and defined opportunities for improving of the hole. Wells in the Dulang field often require
efciency. Of particular note was the nding that For BP, the Valhall proppant-cleanout intervention due to sand production every three
residual fracturing proppant appeared in the optimization project achieved project goals by to six months. For PETRONAS, the speed and
wellbore in varying distribution patterns, improving operational efciency and reliability, efficiency of borehole cleanout operations
requiring that each of the design elements had to and by reducing stuck-pipe risk. A total of 22 runs directly affect field production, revenue and
be optimized for each specic wellbore section. across three completions used the PowerCLEAN return on investment.
As a part of the optimization process, integrated cleanout system. The average TET Large casing sizes, highly deviated wellbores,
engineers verified that a simple seawater was reduced from 17.6 h/run to a new average elevated borehole temperature, low reservoir
cleanout uid, already in use, provided sufcient of 11.1 h/run (below). A savings of 6.5 h/run pressure and limited production-platform deck
carrying capacity for single-run cleanouts. represents a 37.2% reduction in average effective space all challenged the efciency of wellbore
Further analysis, modeling and simulations using cleanout time and indicates a significant cleanout operations. Early in 2004, PETRONAS
the PowerCLEAN software modules led to improvement in performance efciency. and Schlumberger engineers evaluated eight

Valhall Proppant Cleanout Times


35

30
Effective cleanout time, h

25

20
Average = 17.6 h/run
Average = 11.1 h/run
15

10

0
1 3 5 7 9 11 13 15 17 19 21 23 25 27 29 31 33 35 37 39 41 43 45 47 49 51 53 55
Runs

1 2 3 4 A B C
Completions

> Improvement in cleanout efciency. Evaluation of CT cleanout runs in four completions (1, 2, 3 and 4)
in the Valhall eld (blue) indicated the average run time to be 17.6 hours. After applying the PowerCLEAN
integrated system, engineers reduced the average time over three completions (A, B and C) to 11.1 hours
per run (green), saving BP signicant time and cost, while getting wells back into production faster.

12 Oileld Review
C-18L Trajectory

Number Well Treatment Depth at Deviation, Number Tubing, in. Casing, in. 1,000

True vertical depth, ft


top of fill, ft deg of runs
1 B-22L Sand cleanout 2,986 71 1 2 78 9 58
2,000
2 B-11L Sand cleanout 6,108 60 1 2 78 9 58
3 B-16 Wax cleanout N/A 80 1 2 78 3,000
4 C-22L Sand cleanout 3,035 75 2 2 78 9 58
5 C-9L Sand cleanout 4,954 50 1 2 78 9 58 4,000
6 C-17S Sand cleanout 7,888 70 1 3 12
-2,00 0
7 C-18L Sand cleanout 6,677 63 1 2 78 9 58 0 0
0
Nort 2,00 ft
8 D09L Sand cleanout 6,309 50 1 2 78 9 58 h, ft 2,000 4,000 East
,

> Improving cleanout efciency in a mature eld. In the South China Sea, PETRONAS has been operating the Dulang eld for more than 25 years. The
average wellbore deviation is 65 degrees, making cleanout operations difcult. Eight wells with trajectories similar to Well C-18L (right) were evaluated
as candidates for efciency improvement using the PowerCLEAN integrated system (left).

wells for sand and wax cleanout utilizing the The integrated job design improved efciency uids, while mechanical engineers and uid-
PowerCLEAN integrated systems approach and reduced time in hole by optimizing pump mechanics specialists develop nozzle technology;
(above). Using the CoilCADE wellbore cleanout rates, defining sand-bite sequences, properly the PowerCLEAN integrated wellbore cleanout
module, engineers developed unique treatment selecting nozzles for sand mobilization and system exemplifies this type of multidisci-
solutions for each of the eight wells. Cleanout suspension, and accurately estimating chemical plinary collaboration.
uids varied from gel and water to a combination consumption. Production was restored in seven Engineers have the tools and computing
of nitried seawater and wax solvent, and were of the eight wells immediately following support to quickly model, perform multiple itera-
designed for specic borehole conditions and treatment, while the other came back on line tions and optimize cleanout system performance
well congurations. following acid stimulation. for most wellbore conditions and requirements.
To restore and potentially enhance oil On average, the PowerCLEAN integrated The successful integration of cleanout processes
production, engineers needed to clear the systems approach to borehole cleanout reduced is helping many operators keep oil flowing
wellbores of sand and debris, thus allowing time in hole by 75%. The average job time was from their elds. This basic understanding of
conveyance of slickline reservoir evaluation reduced from two days to around one half-day per interdependent processes will lead the way
tools. Then, each well could be evaluated, treatment. The operator saved time, improved to many more efficiency improvements in
stimulated if necessary and brought back on line return on investment, and returned the wells exploration and production systems. DW
in a minimal amount of time. to production at a much faster rate, realizing
Most wells in the field are similar, with as much as 900 bbl [143 m3] of incremental oil
borehole deviations of approximately 63 degrees per day.
and bottomhole temperatures (BHT) of 180 to
250F [82 to 121C]. Depending on design Process Efciency
requirements, engineers optimized uid cost on Efciency is essential in optimizing production
several wells by selecting two different cleanout from aging oil elds and reservoirs that are
fluid systems, an HEC-base fluid for tubing difficult to produce. By understanding the
cleanout and the PowerCLEAN uid system to interrelationships and potential synergies in
remove sand from the larger, and more difcult process elements, new technologies emerge,
to clean, tubing-to-casing annular space. helping operators return wells to production
With the exception of Well C-22L, all cleanout faster. As nonproductive time decreases, costs
jobs were performed in one pass. Each treatment decrease and eld output increases.
was evaluated by slickline to confirm the Understanding key process elements is not
effectiveness of sand removal. On several wells, always straightforward, and often requires the
engineers modied the design by switching to insights of experts from diverse disciplines. For
nitrified foam fluids to compensate for lost example, chemists generally develop cleanout
circulation and leaking completion tubing.

Summer 2005 13
Spectroscopy: The Key to Rapid, Reliable
Petrophysical Answers

Well-completion decisions require fast, objective and reliable log interpretation.


A new, nearly automatic method for processing data from modern spectroscopy and
conventional logging tools gives operators that information quickly. An extensive
analysis of the relationship between rock properties and elemental concentrations
in core samples provided a reliable basis for this new service.

Dan Barson Petrophysical interpretations comprising at same time, more rigorously scientic conductiv-
Rod Christensen least porosity and water saturation are essential ity and permeability models improve the
OILEXCO Incorporated for decisions about acquiring pressure data, col- reliability of the results.
Calgary, Alberta, Canada lecting fluid samples, running casing and The combination of these techniques, known
completing wells. Thus, providing reliable as the DecisionXpress petrophysical evaluation
Eric Decoster
answers in real time or within a few hours after system, has been applied successfully in a wide
Caracas, Venezuela
logging is of utmost importance for operators. variety of siliciclastic reservoirs. For the time
Jim Grau Although reservoir characterization studies being, this system is not applicable to carbonate
Michael Herron involve more data and time to fine-tune the reservoirs, mainly because of the lack of good
Susan Herron interpretation for a particular reservoir, time scientific models and the difficulty of distin-
Ridgeeld, Connecticut, USA and data are always in short supply. Even for guishing calcite from dolomite in the presence
these larger studies, a fast, reliable evaluation is of gas. This article explains the basis for the
Udit Kumar Guru useful as a starting point and as a convenient algorithms that allow the DecisionXpress system
Cairo, Egypt summary of the logs. to be fast, accurate and reliable, and shows
Past attempts to provide a generalized inter- examples from several different environments,
Martn Jordn pretation package have been plagued by the such as Egypt, Venezuela and the North Sea.
Petrleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA)
need to manually define numerous parameters First, however, it is useful to consider the limita-
Barinas, Venezuela
and formation-zonation levels. Ideally, these are tions of conventional techniques.
Thomas M. Maher selected by a skilled interpreter, or by referenc-
Apache Egypt Companies ing an established local database for the The Log-Evaluation Problem
Cairo, Egypt reservoir or formation. Unfortunately, neither of A large part of well-log evaluation involves volu-
these options may be available at the time metric analysis. If the porosity and fluid
Erik Rylander required. An alternative approach is to deter- saturations are known, the determination of
Clamart, France mine many of these parameters automatically. uid volumes is trivial. Matrix permeability can-
Now, elemental-concentration logs and the not be measured directly by static log
Jim White SpectroLith lithology processing of spectra from measurements, but it can be estimated from
Aberdeen, Scotland neutron-induced gamma ray spectroscopy tools fluid and mineral volumes. The difficulty with
make it possible to estimate all matrix parame- volumetric analysis is that there are far more
For help in preparation of this article, thanks to Bill Batzer
and Lisa Stewart, Ridgeeld, Connecticut, USA; Matt Garber, ters automatically with at least the same unknowns than measurements. In addition to
Cambridge, England; Martin Isaacs, Sugar Land, Texas, accuracy as conventional, time-consuming tech- gas, oil and waterwhich can vary widely in
USA; Daniel Valois, Barinas, Venezuela; and
Richard Woodhouse, consultant, Surrey, England. niques. The number of parameters is composition, density and relative abundance
DecisionXpress, ECS (Elemental Capture Spectroscopy), dramatically reduced, in the optimal case to just from top to bottom of a hydrocarbon column
ELANPlus, GLOBAL, GLT (Geochemical Logging Tool),
Litho-Density, MDT (Modular Formation Dynamics Tester), one: the formation water resistivity, Rw. At the
Minitron, Platform Express, RST (Reservoir Saturation Tool)
and SpectroLith are marks of Schlumberger.

14 Oileld Review
there are many possible mineral components. choice may be simple for an adequately devel- Whatever the approach, the most difficult
The log analyst also wants to know uid mobility, oped reservoir, it is likely to be difficult in an parameters to select are invariably those of clay
for example whether the water in the formation exploration or appraisal well, or when the set of minerals. Clay type, volume and distribution
is irreducible or is free to produce.1 measurements changes from those obtained in strongly affect the determination of porosity
Modern logging suites can provide hundreds offset wells that were used to establish the model. from porosity logs, such as neutron, density and
of measurements, but these measurements are Models contain parameters expressing the sonic logs, and of water saturation from resistiv-
not all independent. For example, many mea- response of the measurements to their compo- ity logs. In conventional log interpretation based
surements respond strongly to porosity, but none nents. Some parameters are precisely defined, on a triple-combo logging suiteresistivity,
uniquely identies the volume of oil. Confronted for example the density of calcite. Some density porosity, neutron porosity, gamma ray
with this challenge, the log interpreter is responses vary widely, such as the gamma ray and spontaneous potentialthe volume of clay
obliged to work with models that reduce the response to shale. At this point, log interpreta- is determined mainly from the gamma ray
number of unknowns to an appropriate quantity tion programs take different approaches. Those response and the neutron and density measure-
for the measurements available. For example, if that emphasize ease and speed of use employ ments. The subjectivity of gamma ray
a reservoir is known to be a sandstone contain- simple models and allow only a few of the most (continued on page 18)
ing oil, the interpreter can exclude anhydrite variable parameters to be set by an interpreter.
and gas from the model. The interpreter must Those emphasizing accuracy offer complex mod- 1. Irreducible water saturation is the lowest water satura-
tion, Swirr, that can be achieved in a core plug by
choose the model, so human intervention is els and allow most parameters to be modied by displacing the water with oil or gas. This state is usually
required from the very beginning. Although this the user (see A History of Log Interpretation achieved by owing oil or gas through a water-saturated
sample, or by spinning it in a centrifuge to displace the
Methods, next page). water with oil or gas.

Summer 2005 15
A History of Log Interpretation Methods

Log interpretation techniques have progressed

1940s to 1950s
from the linear solutions of simple equations
Charts and Nomograms
in the 1940s to todays mathematical inver-
Step-by-step, manual process Few parameters
sions and neural networks (right).1 The Simple models
development has been driven not only by
improvements in computer technology, but
also by the increasing number of well-log mea-
surements and the improved understanding of
Overlays
log responses. The main goals of log inter- Curves presented on selected Simple models
pretersto determine porosity, water scales and read with Few or no parameters
saturation and permeabilityhave not transparent rulers
1960s to 1970s

changed. What has changed is our ability to


estimate these quantities more quickly and
reliably in a wider range of formations, and to
Sequential or Deterministic Methods
compute other outputs, such as irreducible
Complex logic with iterative Explicit parameters:
water saturation and mineralogy. loops few or many
The foundation of quantitative log interpre- Limited model flexibility
tation is the set of relationships introduced by
G. E. Archie in 1941.2 At that early stage,
interpretation was a sequential processrst
Simultaneous or Statistical Methods
1980s to 1990s

determine porosity from a sonic, neutron or


density log, and then nd water saturation Constrained inversion through Usually many explicit
minimization of uncertainty parameters
using the resistivity log. This process was Greater flexibility in model
accomplished with charts and nomograms,
which became increasingly complicated as
more porosity logs became available and as
the effects of clay and of the invaded-zone Neural Network
fluids were recognized and quantified. Log Inputs mapped to outputs Minimal number
based on training datasets of parameters
interpretation was no longer a simple Implicit model (inputs, outputs)
sequential process, but one with many
1990s to 2000s

options and iterations.


Such iterations were no problem for the cal-
culators and computers being introduced at DecisionXpress System
that time. By the end of the 1960s, complex Nearly automatic lithology and Implicit model
programs, such as the SARABAND system, hence other outputs Minimal number of
parameters
could use all existing log measurements, esti-
mate clay volume from a variety of sources
and calculate the uid saturations in both the > The development of interpretation methods for multiple logging tools since the 1940s.
invaded and uninvaded zones.3 These pro- Single logging-tool interpretation is not shown.
grams operated sequentially, for example rst
estimating clay volume, then porosity and
nally water saturation, but iterated exten-
sively to rene the answer. Programs were
tailored for particular types of formations, for

16 Oileld Review
example shaly sands, and for particular log- washed-out boreholes. Second, the parame- result depends on the interpreters judgment
ging measurements and response equations. ters and, where the option is available, the and comparison with other data, such as core
However, the complexity of the logic made it formation model, have to be chosen. Last, analysis, well tests and production results.
increasingly difcult to add a new measure- results must be checked for quality and the Experienced interpreters do not use software
ment or interpretation idea later. parameters or model changed until the inter- to nd the solution, but rather to implement
In the late 1970s, the idea of treating log pretation is satisfactory. and rene ideas the interpreter gleans from
interpretation as a problem of mathematical Parameter selection has always been a key studying the raw logs. However, this experi-
inversion was introduced.4 Each measurement subject in log interpretation. Manual parameter ence does not have to be general and take a
has a response equation that can be expressed selection relies on selecting values from mea- long time to developit can be obtained
as a set of unknown formation volumes, each surements (like mud-ltrate properties), logs, quickly in specic reservoirs or areas.
multiplied by a parameter. When there are at crossplots or histograms, for example by looking More recent techniques minimize the prob-
least as many equations as unknown volumes, for the apparent water resistivity in a water lem of parameter selection. Articial neural
the latter can be found by common inversion zone. Unfortunately, there is no certainty that networks are trained to convert logs into
methods. The solution can be constrained, for an interval is water-bearingthat is an inter- results on wells where results are already
example by not allowing the porosity to pretation in itself. Manual parameter selection knowneffectively nding internally the nec-
exceed a specied amount, and each response is often therefore a matter of judgment. essary transforms and parameters for the
equation can be given a different weight. In Most automatic parameter-selection meth- specic model and wells concerned. Once
this way, the logic in the sequential programs ods implement the logic behind a manual trained, the networks can be applied nearly
could be mimicked, but it was not necessary method, with the same limitations. In certain automatically to other wells in which the
to rewrite the software to add or subtract a cases, inversion can determine parameters by same model applies. Although neural networks
measurement or a model. making use of the fact that the parameters are are most commonly used for lithology classica-
In the 1980s, inversion methods were fur- constant over an interval. Finally, parameters tion and for cases in which explicit transforms
ther developed and their computing time can be chosen from databases specic to a are not well-known, for example permeability
reduced to allow different models to be run particular reservoir, formation, geographical estimation and reduced logging sets, they are
simultaneously.5 The most appropriate model area or geological environment. These also applied to volumetric analysis.
could then be selected for each interval, either databases range from simple Rw tables to sets Finally, the DecisionXpress system uses new
manually or using some automatic criterion. of procedures and the experiences of experts. measurements that allow some or all of the
Whatever method is selected, the main Quality control is even more subjective than petrophysical properties to be determined
tasks of computerized interpretation have parameter selection. Reconstructed logs nearly automatically. It is unlikely to displace
remained the same. First, the input logs need those computed from the solution and the other methods for detailed studies requiring
to be edited, depth matched and environmen- parameters and model usedshow whether high levels of accuracy and exibility. It
tally corrected. These tasks are increasingly the solution respects the input logs, but do should, however, provide a signicant improve-
handled during acquisition, but still remain a not indicate whether the parameters or model ment for initial, rapid decision making. JS
concern in difcult conditions such as are correct. In practice, the quality of the

1. For a detailed review: Marett G and Kimminau S: Logs, 4. Mayer C and Sibbit A: GLOBAL, a New Approach to
Charts, and Computers: The History of Log Interpreta- Computer-Processed Log Interpretation, paper SPE
tion Modeling, The Log Analyst 31, no. 6 9341, presented at the SPE Annual Technical Confer-
(NovemberDecember 1990): 335354. ence and Exhibition, Dallas, September 2124, 1980.
2. Archie GE: The Electrical Resistivity Log as an Aid in 5. Quirein J, Kimminau S, LaVigne J, Singer J and Wendel F:
Determining Some Reservoir Characteristics, A Coherent Framework for Developing and Applying
Transactions of the American Institute of Mining and Multiple Formation Evaluation Models, Transactions
Metallurgical Engineers, 146. New York: American of the SPWLA 27th Annual Logging Symposium, Hous-
Institute of Mining and Metallurgical Engineers (1941): ton, June 913, 1986, paper DD.
5462.
3. Introduced by Schlumberger in 1970, the SARABAND
system was the rst computerized reservoir analysis.
For more information: Poupon et al, reference 2, main text.

Summer 2005 17
interpretation is widely known and can be illus- not remove the need for accurate parameter An Express Solution
trated on almost any log example (below). selections. In other cases, the choice of models During the last 20 years, new logging measure-
Various techniques have been used to and parameters is often facilitated by using a ments have advanced interpretation. These
improve the estimation of clay volume. Some database of knowledge about a particular reser- improvements can be divided into two types
interpretation software uses the minimum of the voir, local area or type of geological environment those focused on a better definition of the
clay volumes estimated by different methods, to reduce the choices considerably and to mini- fluids and those focused on a better definition
based on the reasoning that errors in each mize the need for human intervention. However, of the solids.
method always cause an overestimate. 2 This such databases might not be available until after Direct fluid definition has been vastly
approach can minimize gross errors, but does an area has been developed. enhanced by developments in nuclear magnetic
resonance (NMR) logging tools. Since the main
properties of interestporosity, saturation and
permeabilityare fluid-related, NMR may
Invaded Formation appear to be the best option. There are limita-
Resistivity
tions, however, particularly with saturation
0.2 ohm.m 2,000
Apparent Resistivity 1
interpretations, because measurements are
0.2 ohm.m 2,000 made in the invaded zone, close to the borehole,
Mudcake
Apparent Resistivity 2 and because the NMR oil and water signals are
Washout 0.2 ohm.m 2,000 sometimes not clearly separated.
Bit Size Apparent Resistivity 3 The other option is to dene the volumes of
6 in. 16 0.2 ohm.m 2,000 solids and then apply familiar equations to
Caliper Apparent Resistivity 4 determine the main reservoir properties from
6 in. 16 0.2 ohm.m 2,000
other measurements. For example, porosity can
Hole Deviation Apparent Resistivity 5 Photoelectric Factor
be determined accurately from the density log if
-10 deg 90 0.2 ohm.m 2,000 0 10
the matrix density is known. Water saturation
Cable Spontaneous Potential Invaded Zone Resistivity Thermal Neutron Porosity
Tension -430 mV -350 0.2 ohm.m 2,000 45
can be estimated from resistivity if clay conduc-
% -15
0 lbf 6,000 Gamma Ray True Formation Resistivity Formation Density tivity and distribution are known.
MD, ft 0 gAPI 200 0.2 ohm.m 2,000 1.95 g/cm3 2.95 The DecisionXpress system follows this sec-
ond option.3 Its solution is based on measuring
Shale the concentration of some of the elements in
rocks and then estimating the major matrix
6,250 properties from these concentrations. Measuring
elemental concentrations is not new: chemical
elements have been detected with pulsed neu-
tron spectroscopy logging tools since the late
1970s, and concentrations were specifically
derived for openhole formation evaluation by the
GLT Geochemical Logging Tool in the mid-
??? 1980s.4 Unfortunately, the GLT system was not
widely used for several reasons: The GLT tool-
6,300
string was long, operations were slow and
therefore costly, the tool was not combinable,
and the interpretation was complex. The
recently introduced ECS Elemental Capture
Spectroscopy sonde is short, simple to use and
fast to run, and it measures sufcient elements
to evaluate the lithology (next page, top).
At each depth level, the processing ows lin-
early, starting with the computation of lithology,
???
including clay volume, and proceeding through
> Log of a siliciclastic sequence, illustrating some of the grain density, porosity, permeability and
difculties of gamma ray interpretation. The gamma ray log, saturations (next page, bottom). The entire com-
neutron-density separation and resistivity all clearly indicate putation can be performed in real time, while
shale above 6,246 ft [1,904 m] measured depth (MD). However logging, and in most situations with the selec-
at 6,296 ft [1,909 m] and below 6,348 ft [1,935 m], the gamma ray tion of only one parameter, Rw, which is often
log indicates shale, but the other logs do not. Also, the minimum
gamma ray reading of 30 gAPI may or may not indicate pure known in developed reservoirs. Because the out-
clay-free quartz. put provides all log-derived parameters needed

18 Oileld Review
1986 1991 1996 < Spectroscopy logging tools for lithology deter-
GLT Geochemical RST Reservoir ECS Elemental Capture mination. Each tool has at least one source that
Logging Tool Saturation Tool Spectroscopy emits high-energy neutrons into the formation,
Sonde and one detector that measures the gamma
rays emitted by the reactions of neutrons with
elements in the formation. The early GLT
Geochemical Logging Tool also incorporated nat-
ural spectral gamma ray and aluminum activation
measurements; it was long and slow to log, and it
Telemetry cartridge was not combinable with conventional logging
tools. The RST Reservoir Saturation Tool was
designed for cased-hole evaluation, and can
also provide inputs to the SpectroLith technique.
Detector
acquisition The ECS Elemental Capture Spectroscopy sonde
cartridge is the optimal spectroscopy tool for openhole
lithology and matrix property determination
using the SpectroLith technique and other
Far associated techniques.
Neutron detectors detector
Low-energy
neutron source

Neutron detectors
Near AmBe
detector source

Detector 2. Poupon A, Clavier C, Dumanoir J, Gaymard R and Misk A:


Minitron Log Analysis of Sand-Shale SequencesA Systematic
source Boron sleeve Approach, Journal of Petroleum Technology 22, no. 7
(July 1970): 867881.
3. Herron MM, Herron SL, Grau JA, Seleznev NV, Phillips J,
Electronics
El Sherif A, Farag S, Horkowitz JP, Neville TJ and Hsu K:
Dewar flask Real-Time Petrophysical Analysis in Siliciclastics from
Heat sink the Integration of Spectroscopy and Triple-Combo Log-
ging, paper SPE 77631, presented at the SPE Annual
Technical Conference and Exhibition, San Antonio, Texas,
USA, September 29October 2, 2002.
70 ft long 36 ft long 15 ft long 4. Hertzog R, Colson L, Seeman O, OBrien M, Scott H,
6 sondes Through tubing 5-in. OD (with McKeon D, Wraight P, Grau J, Ellis D, Schweitzer J and
Herron M: Geochemical Logging with Spectroscopy Tools,
2 sources [111/16-in. or boron sleeve)
SPE Formation Evaluation 4, no. 2 (June 1989): 153162.
2 passes 21/2-in. outside Chemical
<600 ft/h diameter (OD)] source
Minitron source 1,800 ft/h
<200 ft/h

Total porosity, T

Permeability, k Irreducible
water saturation
Relative
SpectroLith Effect of clay on permeabilities
lithology conductivity, Q v and water cut
Elemental
concentration logs Water saturation, Sw
(Si, Ca, Fe, S, Gd, Ti)
Density and Reservoir
neutron matrix Total porosity, T volumes
properties
Density, neutron and
resistivity logs

User-selected Switches for anhydrite Clay cation Formation water Cutoffs for
parameters: and feldspar level exchange capacity salinity permeabilities
and water cut
> Processing ow and user-selectable parameters in DecisionXpress processing. Blue rectangles represent input data,
green rectangles represent output data, and yellow rectangles indicate intermediate computations. The
straightforward nature of the process contributes to its robustness.

Summer 2005 19
for picking points to measure pressure, fluid-
Porosity
sampling intervals, and sidewall coring
Siderite
locations, it is crucial in making completion
Clay-Bound Water Anhydrite decisions (left). Some conventional analysis
Capillary-Bound Water Pyrite packages can also claim speed and automation
Water
Free Water Carbonate once the analysis is adapted for specic environ-
Pay Hydrocarbon ments. The key difference of this new technique
Water Hydrocarbon Quartz/ Feldspar/ Mica
Cable DecisionXpress Water Cut is that it gives an accurate and reliable result in
Tension Mineralogy Hydrocarbon 1 0 Moved Hydrocarbon Clay
most siliciclastic reservoirs anywhere in the
1 lbf 5,000
Gamma Ray Flow Profile Intrinsic Permeability Porosity Volume world. To justify this claim, we will examine the
L P K SR
MD, ft 0 gAPI 200 0 1 10,000 mD 0.1 50 % 0 0 % 100
basis on which its algorithms are built.
Elemental concentrationsSpectroscopy
tools like the ECS sonde actually measure a
gamma ray spectrum, or the number of gamma
6,250 rays received by the detector for each energy
level. The gamma rays are produced when high-
energy neutronsfrom a minitron or from a
radioactive source such as americium [Am] and
beryllium [Be]bombard the formation and
lose energy through scattering, primarily by
hydrogen. When slowed down to thermal energy,
a neutron that collides with the nucleus of cer-
tain atoms can be captured; in this process, the
nucleus is excited, and it emits gamma rays with
6,300
a distribution of energies that is characteristic
of the element. These gamma rays may be
degraded by scattering in the formation and the
detector, but there is sufcient character in the
nal spectrum to recognize the peaks caused by
different elements (next page, top).
The next step is to calculate the proportion,
or relative yield, of gamma rays due to each ele-
ment. To do this, the measured spectrum is
6,350 compared with the standard spectrum acquired
by Schlumberger for each individual element in
> DecisionXpress output for the previous log (page 18 ). A light gray mask indicates log intervals in the Environmental Effects Calibration Facility in
which the input data are of poor quality because of hole conditions or other problems. The porosity, Houston. The spectrum is inverted to obtain the
permeability and uid saturations are summed and averaged over the pay interval using cutoffs on yields of the principal contributing elements.
permeability and water cut selected by the user. These can also be presented in a table. Quality- These include some of the most diagnostic and
control ags in the far right track indicate the interpretation description for lithology (L), porosity (P),
abundant elements in sedimentary rocks, in par-
permeability (K), saturation (S) and relative permeability (R); green indicates a favorable interpretation,
yellow means a moderately favorable interpretation and red reects an unfavorable interpretation. ticular silicon [Si], calcium [Ca], iron [Fe] and
The shale interval above 6,240 ft [1,902 m] is largely affected by poor hole conditions. sulfur [S]. Titanium [Ti] and gadolinium [Gd]
can also contribute signicant signal and there-
fore must be solved for, even though they are not
abundant elements. The yields of these six ele-
ments, all of which arise solely from the rock
matrix, are computed and used quantitatively in
further processing. Other elements, such as
5. Sedimentary minerals contain single or multiple oxides. by variable i. Once F has been calculated at each level, hydrogen [H] and chlorine [Cl], are also mea-
Even clay minerals can be treated as complex mixtures of the percent by dry weight, or elemental concentrations, sured but used only qualitatively.
oxides. Concentrations are expressed in percent by are computed from Wi = F * Yi / Si.
weight, because it is the mass and not the volume of an Herron SL: Method and Apparatus for Determining Ele-
element that contributes to the measured yield. mental Concentrations for Gamma Ray Spectroscopy
6. The oxide closure model as applied to the ECS tool can Tools, US Patent No. 5,471,057 (November 28, 1995).
be expressed as: F { Xi *Yi / Si } = 1, where F is the 7. Herron MM, Matteson A and Gustavson G: Dual-Range
unknown normalization factor, Y is the measured relative FT-IR Mineralogy and the Analysis of Sedimentary Forma-
yield, X is the known oxide association factor, and S is the tions, paper 9729, presented at the Annual Society of
known relative detection sensitivity. The summation is Core Analysts Conference, Calgary, September 710, 1997.
over the six measured rock-matrix elements, designated

20 Oileld Review
The yields are only relative measures
because the total signal depends on the environ-
ment and varies throughout the logged interval.
To obtain the absolute elemental concentra-
tions, we need additional informationin this

Number of gamma rays detected, counts per second


case from the principle of oxide closure. This
principle states that a dry rock consists only of a
Gd
set of oxides, the sum of whose concentrations
must be unity.5 If we can measure the relative H
yield of all the oxides, we can calculate the total
yield and the factor needed to convert it to
unity. This normalization factor will then con- Si Fe
vert each relative yield to a dry weight
elemental concentration.
In practice, this process is not so straightfor- Cl
ward. First, we measure elements, not oxides,
but nature is helpful since the most abundant Inelastic
elements exist in only one common oxide, for
example SiO 2 for silicon. Thus, for most ele-
ments, an exact association factor supports
conversion of the concentration of the element 0 50 100 150 200 250
to the concentration of the oxide. Second, Gamma ray energy, measurement bin number
although the ECS tool measures a majority of > Typical gamma ray spectrum from the ECS tool in a siliciclastic
the most common elements, there are excep- environment that has no calcium or sulfur. The thermal neutron capture
tions, the most important being those of gamma rays are shown divided into the contributions of the different
potassium [K] and aluminum [Al]. Fortunately, elements present. Gamma rays from inelastic neutron reactions are also
present, but are not used quantitatively. The capture yields of iron [Fe]
the concentration of these elements is strongly and calcium [Ca] include small signals from aluminum and sodium. This
correlated to that of iron, so that they can be contamination is taken into account during further processing.
included in the oxide association factor for iron.6
The results have been validated by comparison
to chemical concentrations measured on core
samples (below right).
Elements to mineralsThe next step is to 200
convert elemental concentrations into mineral
groups. Earlier geochemical techniques were 300
designed to determine as many minerals as pos-
sible. In this DecisionXpress technique, the
400
primary goal is an accurate and reliable total
clay content or weight fraction, with remaining
500
minerals being divided into carbonates or into
Depth, ft

quartz, feldspars and micas (QFM). Develop-


600
ment of this technique was based on the study of
more than 400 core samples from different sand
and shaly sand environments. Each sample was 700

crushed, mixed and split into two fractions


one to determine elemental concentrations 800

through chemical analysis, the other to deter-


mine mineralogy using the Fourier transform 900
infrared (FT-IR) procedure.7 The mineral stan-
0 50 0 40 0 20 0 20 0 4 0 40
dards for the FT-IR procedure included 26 Silicon, % Calcium, % Iron + 0.14 Al, % Sulfur, % Titanium, % Gadolinium, ppm
by weight by weight by weight by weight by weight
minerals, all of which can be determined with
Elemental concentration, dry weight fraction
an accuracy that exceeds +/- 2% by weight.
> An example of the good agreement between six elemental concentrations measured on core (red)
and those derived by applying the oxide closure principle to the yields of the ECS tool (black). The iron
yield contains some signal from aluminum, so that it actually measures the iron concentration plus
14% of the aluminum concentration. The core data (red circles) are plotted using the same combination.

Summer 2005 21
100 The study first examined the correlation
between total clay and a number of elements

Clay, % by weight
conceivably measurable with logs (left). Total
50 clay is the sum of the kaolinite, illite, smectite,
chlorite and glauconite fractions. In most wells,
aluminum gives the best correlation, which is
0 not surprising because clays are aluminosili-
0 10 20 0 5 10 0 2.5 5
Thorium, ppm Uranium, ppm Potassium, % by weight cates, and aluminum is an integral part of their
100 chemical composition. Potassium sometimes
correlates strongly when the dominant clay is
Clay, % by weight

illite, but the correlation is perturbed by potas-


50 sium in feldspars, micas and other minerals.
Thorium [Th], uranium [U], titanium [Ti] and
gadolinium [Gd] are trace elements that are
0
0 10 20 0 1 2 0 5 10 often enriched in shales, but these elements do
Aluminum, % by weight Titanium, % by weight Gadolinium, ppm not generally reveal a sufciently reliable corre-
100 lation for quantitative use, primarily due to
nonclay sources. Silicon shows a strong anticor-
Clay, % by weight

relation, decreasing from 46.8% by weight in


50 pure quartz to about 21% by weight in clays. Iron
is associated with heavy minerals, such as
siderite and pyrite, and the clay minerals illite,
0
0 25 50 0 15 30 0 20 40
chlorite and glauconite. Calcium occurs primar-
Silicon, % by weight Iron, % by weight Calcium, % by weight ily in calcite and dolomite.
> Comparison of the concentrations of various elements measurable by logs Aluminum is the best single elemental indi-
with measured clay concentration in one well. The top row contains cator of clay, but it is difcult to measure in the
elements measured by natural gamma ray spectroscopy. The two trace borehole. Because of its small capture cross sec-
elements, Ti and Gd, and the three major elements measured by capture
gamma ray spectroscopy are shown in the middle and bottom rows, along
tion, aluminum does not produce sufficient
with aluminum, which is difcult to measure with wireline or logging-while- capture gamma rays to make a statistically reli-
drilling tools. As observed in many wells, there is a good correlation with able measurement. In the past, aluminum was
aluminum and a good anticorrelation with silicon. In this well, the measured by inducing neutron activation, a
correlation with potassium is good, but this was an exception among the
wells studied, particularly at low clay concentration. technique that required complex hardware, such
as that in the GLT tool.
For this reason, researchers looked for other
methods with better statistical precision to esti-
mate total clay. The silicon anticorrelation is
good, but is disturbed by the presence of carbon-
100
a b c ate minerals, siderite and pyrite (left). These
minerals act like clay to reduce the amount of sil-
Clay, % by weight

icon, but can be accounted for by measuring


50 calcium, iron and, when available, magnesium
[Mg], whose measurement is discussed below.
Thus, by combining four elementsSi, Ca, Fe
and Mgit is possible to nd a correlation with
0
0 50 100 0 50 100 0 50 100 total clay that has nearly the same slope in all
100SiO2 100SiO2 CaCO3 MgCO3 100SiO2 CaCO3 MgCO3 1.99 Fe wells, a small degree of scatter, and a near-zero
> Data from 12 wells illustrating how clay concentration is estimated from major intercept (next page, top). When examining these
elements. The measured clay concentration shows a clear trend with (100 SiO2) that is plots, it is important to focus on the clay-poor
disturbed mainly by carbonate minerals (a). When calcite and dolomite are subtracted region where reservoirs occurthe correlation in
from the previous estimate, the tight trend is disturbed only by siderite and pyrite (b). the shales is less important. With the exception of
When iron-rich minerals are also subtracted, the correlation is further improved,
showing how clay can be estimated from four elements (c). In practice, magnesium is Wells 11 and 12, discussed below, these results
not measured by capture gamma ray spectroscopy, but the interpretation provides a show a strong, unique correlation between ele-
total carbonate (calcite + dolomite) that effectively produces results identical to those mental concentrations and total clay in a wide
shown in the middle plot (b). For complete lithology interpretation, dolomite can be
range of siliciclastic reservoirs.
estimated from the photoelectric factor from the Litho-Density photoelectric density log
or Platform Express integrated wireline logging tool measurements.
8. Ellis DV: Well Logging for Earth Scientists. New York:
Elsevier (1987): 190.

22 Oileld Review
At this point, it is worth examining the corre- 100
Well 1 Well 2 Well 3 Well 4
lation between measured total clay and the

Clay, % by weight
traditional total gamma ray on the same data
(below right).8 The gamma ray is calculated from 50

the sum of its contributing elementsK, Th and


Uand is therefore independent of porosity. As
expected, there is a general correlation. How- 0

ever, the slopes and offsets vary widely, and 100


Well 5 Well 6 Well 7 Well 8
there is often considerable scatter, particularly

Clay, % by weight
in comparison with the estimation based on ele-
mental concentrations. 50

Wells 1 and 2 illustrate the wide range in


slope. An extrapolation to pure clay would give a
gamma ray reading of 100 gAPI in Well 1, but 0

would give 500 gAPI in Well 2. Wells 4 and 12 100


Well 9 Well 10 Well 11 Well 12
illustrate the range in offsets, or zero clay read-
ings. An extrapolation to zero clay gives 30 gAPI Clay, % by weight
in Well 4 and 70 gAPI in Well 12. Such variations 50

are widely known and are partially circumvented


in practice by using local knowledge and cali-
0
brating the gamma ray to core data in a 0 50 100 0 50 100 0 50 100 0 50 100
particular reservoir. Estimated clay, % Estimated clay, % Estimated clay, % Estimated clay, %
Calibration would give good results in several > Comparison of measured clay concentration with the concentrations estimated by Si, Ca, Fe and Mg
of the wells. However, the results are still not in 12 wells. Except in Wells 4, 11 and 12, the slopes are nearly the same and pass through the origin
satisfactory in terms of scatter and dynamic with no offset. The overall correlation coefcient is 0.94, with a standard error of 6.9% by weight. In
reservoir rocks that contain less than 25% clay, the standard error is smaller. The clay content tends to
range. In Wells 3, 5, 7 and 9, the scatter at about be underestimated in the shales; this underestimation is corrected in the SpectroLith implementation.
20% by weight clay is such that even a calibrated
gamma ray would indicate clay percentages
varying from 0 to 40%. This amount of clay can 100
mean the difference between reservoir and non- Well 1 Well 2 Well 3 Well 4
Clay, % by weight

reservoir rock, and makes quantitative use


difcult. Wells 11 and 12 are examples of small 50
dynamic range.
Wells 11 and 12, and to a lesser extent Well 4,
contain feldspar-rich sands. Feldspars and micas 0
are aluminosilicates, like clays, and therefore 100
affect the silicon content. These sands are han- Well 5 Well 6 Well 7 Well 8
Clay, % by weight

dled by using a different slope and introducing


an offset in the clay estimator (below). The 50

100

0
Clay, % by weight

100
Well 9 Well 10 Well 11 Well 12
Clay, % by weight

50

50

0 0
0 50 100 0 100 200 0 100 200 0 100 200 0 100 200
Estimated clay, % Gamma ray, gAPI Gamma ray, gAPI Gamma ray, gAPI Gamma ray, gAPI
> Comparison of measured clay > Comparison of measured clay concentration with gamma ray in the same 12 wells as in the previous
concentration with the gure (above ). The gamma ray has been computed from the thorium [Th], uranium [U] and potassium
concentrations estimated by Si, Ca, [K] concentrations measured on the samples using the formula: gamma ray = 4Th + 8U + 16K, where
Fe and Mg in Well 4 (crosses) and Th and U are reported in parts per million (ppm), and K is in % by weight. This is equivalent to using a
Wells 11 and 12 (open circles) using gamma ray log normalized to the solid fraction, or porosity-free. The slopes and offsets vary widely
the equation for arkosic, or high from well to well. Even after allowing for these, the correlations are poorer than when estimating
feldspar, sands. The correlation is using Si, Ca, Fe and Mg, especially in reservoir rocks.
strong, particularly below 20% clay.

Summer 2005 23
current DecisionXpress implementation has siderite, anhydrite and pyrite are all mea- diagenesis, depositional environment or the spu-
three different estimators corresponding to sured using information in the different yields rious introduction of small amounts of heavy
arenite (feldspar content < 10%), subarkose (below). The remainder of the rock is considered minerals. The results are demonstrably superior
(feldspar content between 10 and 15%) and the to consist of quartz, feldspar and mica (QFM). to those from the gamma ray log even when the
rare arkose (feldspar content > 25%). Arenite is The extensive core studies helped scientists gamma ray analysis is calibrated with core. Also,
the default. develop an accurate and reliable method of esti- unlike the lithology analysis using neutron and
The carbonate fraction is determined from mating clay from elemental concentrations density porosities, the results are independent
the calcium concentration, initially assuming without the need for user intervention. This pro- of uid type, volume and density.
that the carbonate is calcite. Dolomite can be cess is captured in the SpectroLith algorithm.10 Matrix properties and porosityIn conven-
detected and quantified by comparing the One important advantage is that it uses concen- tional log analysis, matrix density is either taken
expected photoelectric factor (PEF) with the trations of major elements, as opposed to trace as a constant based on local knowledge or is
measured PEF. 9 The fractions of halite, coal, elements that can be easily affected by sediment derived from mineral modeling. The former is
likely to be approximated, leading to errors,
while the latter involves analyst input and con-
trol. An alternative approach is to estimate
matrix density directly from elements. As with
the lithology study, elemental concentrations
and matrix densities were available on a large
Induced gamma ray
spectra number of core samples, in this case more than
600. The goal was to find the best correlation
between the matrix density and a linear combi-
nation of elements. Although the algorithm is
empirical, its rationale is logical.11 Sandstone
Inversion matrix density is approximately equal to that of
(spectral stripping) silica [SiO2], but increases as the concentra-
tions of calcium-, iron- and sulfur-bearing
minerals increase. Iron-bearing minerals have a
particularly strong effect on density, as reected
Elemental relative yields in the high coefcient for iron. A separate algo-
(Si, Ca, Fe, S, Gd, Ti, H, Cl rithm with different coefficients is used for
and other capture and
inelastic yields and tool arkosic sandstones.
background) A similar analysis leads to an algorithm for
the matrix response of the neutron log. Knowing
the properties of the rock matrix and the uid
normally those of mud filtrateit is
Oxide closure straightforward to calculate the total porosity
from both neutron and density logs. In water
zones, the matrix-corrected porosities should
agree regardless of the volumes of clays or heavy
Elemental concentrations
% by dry weight
(Si, Ca, Fe, S, Gd and Ti)

Mineral Element Used Comment


Anhydrite, CaSO4 Sulfur User elects to solve for either anhydrite or
pyrite. Corresponding weight % of Ca or Fe
SpectroLith model is subtracted from measured weight %
Pyrite, FeS2 Sulfur before calculating other lithologies.

Siderite, FeCO3 Iron From the iron remaining after computing


pyrite and clay
SpectroLith lithology
% by dry weight Coal, CHaNbOc Hydrogen From excess hydrogen above average
(clay, carbonate, QFM hydrogen level in well. Other minerals
and special minerals) normalized to noncoal fraction

Properties such as T , b , Halite, NaCl Total count rate If detected, lithology set to
clay, carb and QFM above threshold 100% halite

> Overview of the SpectroLith algorithm. The processing ow (left ) starts


Lithology with capture yields and determination of lithology in % by dry weight. The
Volume % of rock, with fluids
(clay, carbonate, QFM and lithology is subsequently converted to % by volume using porosity, log bulk
special minerals) density and the density of the mineral components. The table summarizes
the logic used to detect special minerals and coal (above).

24 Oileld Review
minerals. In gas zones, there should be a clear 10 4 10 4
crossover, unmasked by the effects of clay.

Measured permeability, mD

Measured permeability, mD
Finally, the total porosity, T, for use in further 10 2
10 2
computations, is taken as two-thirds of the den-
sity porosity, D, plus one-third of the neutron 10 0
porosity, N. This expression yields an approxi-
10 0
mate but reliable estimate of T for any 10-2
formation uid.
k- estimate k- estimate
Water saturationMany equations are avail- 10-2 10-4
able to compute water saturation from resistivity. 0 10 20 30 10-4 100 104
Measured porosity, % Estimated permeability, mD
Because we have a reliable measure of clay vol-
> Permeability calculation based on the lambda parameter, . Measured
ume, it makes sense to select an equation that
porosity and permeability values (blue) and the k- estimate (red) for clay-
uses clay volume explicitly and is based on labo- free Fontainebleau formation quartz arenites are shown at left. Measured
ratory studies. The Waxman-Smits-Thomas permeability (blue) versus k- estimate (red) for the same formation
equation satisfies these conditions and is the appears at right. The correlation coefcient for the logarithms is 0.99.
current choice in the DecisionXpress system.12
The Waxman-Smits-Thomas equation con-
tains the only two parameters that must be
selected by the userformation water conduc-
tivity, Cw, and the clay cation exchange capacity
(CEC). Formation salinities vary far too widely matrix density and the specic surface area per mass fractions of the minerals present.16 This
for a fixed default to be satisfactory. The clay unit mass, S0.15 S0 is a characteristic of different works well until the pore throats become blocked
CEC default is 0.1 meq/g, a good value for most types of minerals. It is known that clays have at low porosity and permeability. Empirically, it is
illites and chlorites, and a good value for most high S0 and make by far the largest contribution found that when the initial k- estimate is less
clay mineral assemblages the researchers to pore surface area in shaly sands. It has also than 100 mD, it must be reduced by a suitable
encountered in sedimentary rocks; pure kaolin- been observed that the total S0 in a rock can be function. The quality of the k- estimates can be
ite clays and pure smectite clays are not present approximated by a linear combination of the judged from the examples (above).
in the extensive database.
9. PEF refers to a log of photoelectric absorption properties. is the formation water conductivity. The rst term is
In a water-lled formation, with Sw = 1, the The log measures the photoelectric absorption factor, Pe, equivalent to the Archie equation in clean formations.
same equation is used to calculate the water- which is dened as (Z/10)3.6, where Z is the average The second term, BQv/Sw, represents the additional con-
atomic number of the formation. Pe is unitless, but ductivity due to clay, where B is a parameter that is a
lled formation resistivity, Ro, and the apparent because it is proportional to the photoelectric cross sec- function of temperature and Cw. Qv, the cation exchange
formation-water resistivity, Rwa. tion per electron, it is sometimes quoted in capacity (CEC) per unit pore volume, is directly related to
barns/electron. Because uids have low atomic num- clay volume and its CEC. CEC is the quantity of positively
k- permeabilityPermeability is calcu- bers, they have little inuence, so that Pe is a measure of charged ions that a clay mineral or similar material can
lated by a method developed for siliciclastic the rock matrix properties. The PEF of dolomite is less accommodate on its negatively charged surface,
than that of calcite. The PEF reconstructed from the com- expressed as milli-ion equivalent per 100 g, or more com-
formations based on the lambda parameter, .13 puted matrix fractions should equal the measured PEF if monly as milliequivalent (meq) per 100 g.
The lambda parameter is a measure of the effec- the carbonate is pure calcite. If the measured PEF is less, Smits LJM and Waxman MH: Electrical Conductivities
the difference is proportional to the fraction of dolomite. in Oil-Bearing Shaly Sands, Society of Petroleum
tive diameter of dynamically connected pores, See Hertzog et al, reference 4. Engineers Journal 8, no. 2 (June 1968): 107122.
and, in the simplest pore geometries, it can be 10. Herron SL and Herron MM: Quantitative Lithology: An Waxman MH and Thomas EC: Electrical Conductivities
approximated from the ratio of pore volume to Application for Open and Cased Hole Spectroscopy, in Shaly Sands I. The Relation Between Hydrocarbon
Transactions of the SPWLA 37th Annual Logging Sympo- Saturation and Resistivity Index; II. The Temperature
surface area. Further, at high permeability, the sium, New Orleans, June 1619, 1996, paper E. Coefcient of Electrical Conductivity, Journal of
permeability is proportional to 2/F, where F is 11. For arenites or subarkosic sandstones, researchers Petroleum Technology 26, no. 2 (February 1974): 213225.
found a single least-squares t with a correlation
the Archie formation factor and equal to 1/ 2. coefcient of 0.97 and a standard error of 0.015 g/cm3
13. Herron MM, Johnson DL and Schwartz LM: A Robust
Permeability Estimator for Siliciclastics, paper SPE
Combining these leads to an expression that is a [0.936 lbm/ft3] as follows: 49301, presented at the SPE Annual Technical Confer-
form of the Kozeny-Carman relation and similar ma = 2.62 + 0.049 WSi + 0.2274 WCa + 1.993 WFe + ence and Exhibition, New Orleans, September 2730, 1998.
1.193 WS , where WSi , WCa , WFe and WS are the % by 14. Carman PC: Flow of Gases through Porous Media. Lon-
to many others in the literature: dry weight of these elements. don: Butterworths Scientic Publications, 1956.
Herron SL and Herron MM: Application of Nuclear 15. The pore surface area, S, within a bulk volume Vb, can be
Spectroscopy Logs to the Derivation of Formation Matrix
k ~ m* / (S/ Vp ) 2 , Density, Transactions of the SPWLA 41st Annual Log-
written as a product of the specic surface area per unit
mass, S0, and the mass of the matrix, which is its volume,
ging Symposium, Dallas, June 47, 2000, paper JJ. (Vb - Vp), multiplied by its density, ma. The porosity, , is
where S is the pore surface area and Vp the pore 12. The Waxman-Smits equation for the conductivity given by Vb/Vp. Thus, S/Vp = S0 ma (1-)/.
response of shaly formations is used to analyze core 16. On this basis, the initial k- estimate becomes:
volume.14 The problem is then how to measure data and to calculate water saturation from resistivity
k1 = 200,000 (m* +2) / {(1-)2 ma2 (60Wclay + 0.22Wsand +
the ratio S/Vp from logs, and how to adapt the and other logs. The model was developed by M. Waxman
2Wcarb + 0.1Wpyr)2} ,
and L. Smits with later contributions by E. C. Thomas. The
equation at low permeability. In the mineral Waxman-Smits-Thomas equation may be stated as follows: where Wclay, Wsand, Wcarb and Wpyr are the weight frac-
tions derived previously, and the numerical coefcients
form of k- permeability, the ratio S/Vp is esti- 1/Rt = Ct = Tm* Swn* (Cw + BQv/Sw) ,
are derived by tting to experimental data. Theoretically,
mated from the volumes of the minerals present. where Ct is conductivity, or the reciprocal of Rt, the mea- and also in practice, this expression does not apply at
sured log resistivity; Sw is the water saturation; m* is the low permeability. When the initial k- estimate is less
This is possible by first removing the effect of cementation exponent and is a well-dened function of than 100 mD, it must be reduced as follows:
porosity in the ratio, leaving two terms, the T and Qv ; n* is the saturation exponent set to 2; and Cw
k2 = 0.037325 k11.714 .

Summer 2005 25
Western Desert and Nile Delta
Generalized Stratigraphy
Rock Unit
Age Average
A F Lithology Thickness, ft
R I C Formation Unit
A

Khoman
A
1,250

A 400

B 350
Alexandria
C 200

Abu Roash
Cairo D 500

Cretaceous
East Bahariya
E 600

F 200
E G Y P T
G 1,000
0 km 200
0 mi 200 Bahariya 950

> East Bahariya area, Egypt. Apache Egypt produces oil from Kharita 3,000
the Cretaceous sandstones of the Bahariya and Abu Roash
formations (right).
Alamein 160

Alam El Bueib 2,000

Irreducible water saturationTo judge Rapid Evaluation of Complex used in subsequent log processing. Apache vali-
whether a reservoir will produce hydrocarbons, Lithologies in Egypt dated the ECS-derived mineralogy of the
water or a mixture of both, it is not sufcient to In the East Bahariya concession onshore Egypt, Bahariya and Abu Roash formations with side-
know just the water saturation, Sw. A qualitative Apache Egypt is drilling exploratory wells in Cre- wall core analysis. The ECS data helped identify
judgment can be made by a simple comparison taceous sandstones of the Bahariya and Abu zones containing signicant amounts of calcite.
of S w with the irreducible water saturation, Roash formations (above). Geological uncer- This was not possible using the standard PEF logs,
Swirr. If Sw is equal to Swirr, then there is no pro- tainty and abrupt changes in formation-water which are affected by barite in the drilling mud.
ducible water. More quantitatively, the effective resistivity make rapid petrophysical analysis at In a recent East Bahariya exploration well,
permeabilities of oil, water and gas can be esti- the wellsite challenging but desirable. With two EB-28, petrophysical evaluation using
mated using familiar relationships that depend drilling rigs in operation, timely decision making DecisionXpress technology compared satisfacto-
on Sw and Swirr. Irreducible water saturation is is important to minimize the impact of these rily with a conventional analysis carried out by
therefore an important parameter. In uncertainties on operations. Apache (next page). On the basis of this inter-
DecisionXpress processing, it is derived by the The prospective Bahariya and Abu Roash pretation, Apache decided to run the MDT
Coates-Timur equation.17 This equation is nor- sandstones tend to be thinly bedded and vary device to better understand uid mobility and to
mally used to estimate permeability, but may be widely in grain size. Complex mineralogy, includ- collect uid samples. The MDT permeability cor-
inverted to give Swirr using porosity and the k- ing glauconite, complicates log interpretation.18 related well with permeability estimated
estimate of permeability: Apache expected that prompt, robust interpreta-
17. Timur A: Pulsed Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Studies
tions based on the DecisionXpress system would of Porosity, Movable Fluid, and Permeability of Sand-
Swirr = 100 2 / (100 2 + k0.5) . help geoscientists and engineers plan subse- stones, Journal of Petroleum Technology 21, no. 6 (June
1969): 775786.
quent formation-evaluation operations, such as
Coates GR, Miller M, Gillen M and Henderson G: The
With information on lithology, porosity, water formation testing and fluid sampling with the MRIL in Conoco 33-1: An Investigation of a New Mag-
saturation, permeability and irreducible water MDT Modular Formation Dynamics Tester tool. netic Resonance Imaging Log, Transactions of the
SPWLA 32nd Annual Logging Symposium, Midland,
saturation, the operator has most of the major Apache selected the DecisionXpress service Texas, USA, June 1619, 1991, paper DD.
inputs needed to make reliable decisions. Let us in part because it integrates data from the Plat- 18. Glauconite is a silicate mineral found in sedimentary
rocks. It typically forms on continental shelves charac-
now see the results of applying this logic to vari- form Express and ECS tools to determine terized by slow sedimentation with organic matter
ous sandstone reservoirs around the world. mineralogy. This service also provides a continu- present in an oxidizing environment. In sufcient quan-
tity, it can form thick, sandy, green deposits.
ous matrix density measurement that can be

26 Oileld Review
Net Pay
Porosity
Net
Reservoir Clay-Bound Water Siderite
Mudcake Pyrite
Water Capillary-Bound Water
Perforated Intervals
Washout Hydrocarbon Free Water Carbonate
Bit Size
Water Water Cut Hydrocarbon Quartz/ Feldspar/Mica
6 in. 16 DecisionXpress 1 0
Caliper Mineralogy Hydrocarbon Moved Hydrocarbon Clay Hydrocarbon
Intrinsic
6 in. 16 Gamma Ray Flow Profile Permeability Porosity Volume Sw
L P KSR
MD, ft 0 gAPI 150 0 1 10,000 mD 0.1 50 % 0 0 % 100 100 % 0

X,600

X,650

X,700

> Real-time petrophysical analysis of an East Bahariya well. This standard presentation displays borehole and
depth information, red net pay ags and yellow net reservoir ags in the depth track. Track 1 shows lithology
from the Platform Express integrated wireline logging tool. Perforations in four zones and the ow prole are
shown in Track 2. However, the water cut information in Track 3 reveals a zone near X,675 ft that ultimately
produced water. Fluid interpretations in Track 4 suggest that the best oil potential exists just below X,600 ft and
around X,700 ft. The dominant minerals, shown in Track 5, include quartz, feldspar and mica (yellow) and clay
(gray) with minor amounts of carbonate minerals (blue). Summarized in quality-control Track 6 are lithology (L),
porosity (P), permeability (K), saturation (S) and relative permeability (R); green reects a favorable
interpretation, yellow means a moderately favorable interpretation and red indicates an unfavorable
interpretation. Track 8 shows hydrocarbon volumes.

Summer 2005 27
using the DecisionXpress system (left). In
Net Pay
Porosity addition, production results confirmed the
Net Water
Reservoir Clay-Bound Water Siderite
DecisionXpress analysis.
Hydrocarbon Apache employed DecisionXpress and ECS
Mucake Capillary-Bound Water Pyrite
Water Cut technology in other recent exploration wells
Washout Free Water Carbonate
1 0 drilled in two other concessions in Egypt for
Bit Size Intrinsic
Water Hydrocarbon Quartz/ Feldspar/ Mica quick-look petrophysical evaluations to support
6 in. 16 DecisionXpress Permeability
Caliper Mineralogy Hydrocarbon 10,000 mD 0.1 Moved Hydrocarbon Clay Hydrocarbon wellsite decision making. Estimates of the ratio
6 in. 16 Gamma Ray Flow Profile Mobility Porosity Volume Sw of net pay to gross pay from the DecisionXpress
L PK SR computation matched net-to-gross computations
MD, ft 0 gAPI 150 0 1 10,000 mD 0.1 50 % 0 0 % 100 0 % 100
developed from time-consuming proprietary
petrophysical analysis. DecisionXpress answers
were typically available before production casing
was run, which helped the operator estimate the
X,400
value of exploratory wells and decide whether to
run casing.
Based on this success, plans are now being
made to use the DecisionXpress software in real
X,450 time to design more effective wireline pressure-
and fluid-sampling programs as well as to
provide faster quick-look petrophysical analyses.

Real-Time Decisions in Venezuela


X,500
The Guata eld is a mature oil eld operated
by Petrleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA), located
in the state of Apure, near the Venezuela
Colombia border (next page, top). This eld pro-
X,550
duces light oil, between 28 and 32 dAPI,
primarily from the Guardulio and Arauca mem-
bers of the Guata formation.
In recent years, PDVSA initiated a sustained
high level of drilling activity in the Guata eld
X,600 to maintain high levels of production. With three
active drilling rigs operating more than 300 km
[186 mi] from PDVSA headquarters in Barinas,
the company sought a reliable method for inter-
preting logs quickly at the wellsite. The PDVSA
X,650
operations team in Barinas turned to induced
gamma ray spectroscopy with the ECS sonde and
the DecisionXpress system.
The Guafita formation is a sand-shale
X,700
sequence in which conventional log interpreta-
tion might be expected to be straightforward. In
reality, several factors complicate log interpreta-
tion. First, the Guafita formation is highly
resistivea clean sand will produce water at a
X,750 resistivity of 10 mS/m [100 ohm.m], and oil at
3.3 mS/m [300 ohm.m]. This is because the for-
mation connate water is unusually fresh, varying
> Permeability and mobility interpretations. The MDT device measured formation pressure and uid from a low of 100 parts per million (ppm) to a
mobility at nine depths within the Bahariya formation and at three depths in the overlying Abu Roash high of about 2,500 ppm of equivalent sodium
G zone (Track 3). Permeability calculated by real-time DecisionXpress processing (Track 3) closely chloride [NaCl]. Therefore, master calibration of
matches MDT uid mobilities.
the induction tool requires great care because
the difference between 3 and 10 mS/m is signi-
cant, given that induction tools respond to
conductivity, not resistivity.

28 Oileld Review
This simplified resistivity approach is ade-
quate for the clean sands, but it is inadequate
when clay is present and surface conductivity
effects become signicant. At such low connate-
water salinities, conditions in Guafita are
SOUTH AMERIC A
outside the traditional range of application of
conventional saturation equations such as the
Waxman-Smits model.19 In addition, the use of
oil-base mud precludes acquiring a spontaneous
potential curve, which in turn prevents the log
analyst from using saturation equations
designed specifically for freshwater environ-
ments, such as the Sen-Goode-Sibbit equation.20
After analyzing this problem, PDVSA decided Caracas
to focus on reducing the uncertainty associated
with implementation of a conventional satura-
tion model in Guata. The company began with Guafita
a thorough analysis of produced waters from var- field
Apure VENEZUELA
ious intervals in several wells to optimize the Rw
value to be used in each geological interval.
At the same time, PDVSA recognized that a
traditional estimate of clay content, always
biased by the gamma ray log, tended to overesti-
mate the amount of clay present in the 0 km 300

formation and invalidated a saturation clay cor- 0 mi 300

rection. The high radioactivity often observed in


> Guata eld, Venezuela. Located in the Apure state near the
the Guata sands is usually attributed to incom-
VenezuelaColombia border, the eld was discovered in 1984
patibility between the original connate water
and produces from Miocene and Oligocene reservoirs of the
and the water from the active aquifer below, Guata formation.
which is fresh and likely to originate from mete-
oric recharge. As the aquifer rises, radioactive
350
salts deposited in the formation increase the
overall radioactivity, and lead to overestimation ay
V cl
of clay content. *
300
324
In discussions with Schlumberger, PDVSA iden- 8+
tied induced gamma ray spectroscopy with the =2
GR
ECS device as a potential means to accurately 250
quantify clay in Guata sands. In various Guata
wells, several runs of Platform Express integrated
Gamma ray, gAPI

wireline logging tools, including the ECS sonde, 200

systematically demonstrated poor linearity


between natural gamma ray and clay volume, Vclay,
150
from SpectroLith processing. They also showed
higher end points than are typical for sandstones,
both for the clean and shaly fraction (right).
100

19. The Waxman-Smits equation is described in reference 12.


20. The Sen-Goode-Sibbit saturation model is commonly
applied in freshwater shaly sand environments. For more 50
information: Sen PN, Goode PA and Sibbit A: Electrical
Conduction in Clay-Bearing Sandstones at Low and High
Salinities, Journal of Applied Physics 63, no. 10 (May 15,
1988): 48324840. 0
0 20 40 60 80 100
Clay volume, %
> Crossplot of gamma ray versus clay volume, as determined by SpectroLith
processing. The regression line highlights the lack of linearity between
measured gamma ray (GR) and clay volume, Vclay. The end points of the
regression line, at the intersection with the Vclay = 0 and Vclay = 1 axes, are
unusually high for a sandstone environment. These measurements were
later used in DecisionXpress processing.

Summer 2005 29
Irreducible Water
Clay
Water
Quartz/Feldspar/Mica
Oil
Carbonate
Calcite
Pyrite Coates-Timur
Irreducible Water
Permeability
Pyrite
Grain Density from Water
Washout SpectroLith Processing 10,000 mD 0.1
Quartz
SDR Permeability Oil
Bit Size 2.5 g/cm 3 3
10,000 mD 0.1 Bound Water
6 in. 16 Grain Density from Core ELANPlus Fluid Analysis T2 Distribution
3
Klinkenberg- Illite
Caliper 2.5 g/cm 3 50 % 0 0 29
Corrected Core
6 in. 16 Gamma Ray Clay Volume from XRD Permeability Core Porosity ELANPlus Analysis T 2 LM

MD, ft 0 gAPI 300 0 % 100 10,000 mD 0.1 50 % 100 100 % 0 0.3 ms 5,000

X,450

X,500

X,550

X,600

> SpectroLith processing of a Guata log. Caliper measurements in the depth track show the hole is in good condition. Track 1, scaled
from 0 to 300 gAPI, shows high gamma ray values in the logged interval. SpectroLith clay volumes (gray) shown in Track 2 match core
measurements (blue circles); the SpectroLith grain density (red curve) is more reliable than the low core-density measurements (open
circles) from unconsolidated core samples. Permeability estimates in Track 3 match those measured in cores (blue circles). Computed
porosity (Track 4) also matches porosity measurements in cores (blue circles). Track 5 displays lithology and porosity from ELANPlus
volumetric analysis. NMR data in Track 6 show a well-developed free-uid signal in the highly permeable Guata sandstones.

Simultaneously, eld results from DecisionXpress diffraction (XRD) measurements for compari- Agreement between estimated porosity and esti-
processing correlated strongly with results son with the clay volume determined by mated permeability and core data was also
obtained using a traditional ELANPlus advanced SpectroLith processing. excellent. Some discrepancy remains between
multimineral log analysis technique in the Cara- This comparison reveals a good correspon- grain density estimated from SpectroLith analy-
cas, Venezuela, computing center. dence between total clay content determined by sis and grain density measured in core samples,
PDVSA found these results encouraging, and XRD analysis and clay content determined by with core grain density typically lower than the
the company decided to verify them by acquir- SpectroLith analysis, even though the analyzed density of pure quartz. This discrepancy might
ing a core and performing a series of X-ray core plugs were obtained in the cleaner, have resulted from the difficulty of accurately
more porous reservoir intervals (above).

30 Oileld Review
Clay

Quartz/ Feldspar/ Mica

Mudcake Clay-Bound Water Carbonate

Washout Capillary-Bound Water Pyrite

Cable Tension Hydrocarbon Anhydrite


10,000 lbf 0
Moved Water Siderite
Bit Size
Free Water Coal
6 in. 16
Water
Calibrated Caliper Water Moved Hydrocarbon Salt
6 in. 16 Hydrocarbon
Hydrocarbon Data Quality Data Quality
Net Reservoir k-
DecisionXpress Flow Profile Permeability Total Porosity Total Porosity
Net Pay L PKSR
Mineralogy 0 1 10,000 mD 0.1 50 % 0 100 % 0

X,450

X,500

X,550

> DecisionXpress processing of the Guata log. To better evaluate the quick-look results obtainable using DecisionXpress
processing, the same interval of the previous log from Guata (previous page) was reprocessed using the DecisionXpress
system; this display is a default presentation. Caliper data in the depth track conrm hole quality was good except for rugosity
from X,465 to X,470 ft. This thin interval of data, masked with gray, is not reliable enough for automated interpretation. Net
reservoir and net pay ags are also shown in the depth track. Mineralogy from DecisionXpress processing appears in Track 1.
Track 2 shows the estimated production prole, derived from the relative permeability results shown in Track 3. Porosity and
uid information in Tracks 4 and 5 complete the evaluation. Mineralogy, shown in Track 5, is interpreted from ECS data using
DecisionXpress processing. Summarized in quality-control Track 6 are lithology (L), porosity (P), permeability (K), saturation (S)
and relative permeability (R); green indicates a favorable condition, yellow represents a moderately favorable condition and
red means an unfavorable condition. The quick-look DecisionXpress analysis agrees with core data and with the more time-
consuming ELANPlus analysis.

measuring grain density from essentially uncon- This quick-look result is remarkably similar to production results, with the well coming on pro-
solidated core plugs. the complete ELANPlus evaluation, including duction at a rate of 1,200 bbl/d [191 m3/d] of
XRD analysis also showed the predominant the permeability estimate obtained from the uid, with a water cut of less than 20%.
clay mineral to be kaolinite, often greater than mineralogical version of the k- equation. The DecisionXpress technology is now an integral
70% of the total clay, with the rest of the clay rugose hole region from X,465 to X,470 ft is prop- part of formation evaluation in the Guata eld,
minerals illite and a small fraction of chlorite. In erly agged, and the main sandstone reservoirs ensuring that reliable interpretation results
such conditions, a low mean CEC of the clays are properly diagnosed as being at or near irre- from a remote region of Venezuela are available
would be expected; a value of 0.2 meq/g was ducible water saturation. This was conrmed by wherever decisions need to be made, minutes
used in the DecisionXpress processing (above). after the logs are acquired.

Summer 2005 31
Y
A
W
R
Block 15/25b

O
N
N o r t h S e a

DENMARK

UK 0 km 200
0 mi 200

> OILEXCO license in the Outer Moray Firth


basin. A thin oil column, identied in 1990, led
the company to reevaluate the potential of
Block 15/25b.

Making Timely Decisions in the UK three wells logged with the DecisionXpress
21. For more about exploration for stratigraphic traps by
In recent years, the UK government has encour- system, Well 15/25b-8 proved to be the one that OILEXCO: Durham LS: Subtle Traps Become New Prey,
aged owners of undeveloped offshore UK justified further activity in the area, known as AAPG Explorer 25, no. 8 (August 2004): 14.
22. Amplitude variation with offset (AVO) refers to a differ-
discoveries to either develop or relinquish the Brenda accumulation. That well was drilled ence in seismic reection amplitude with a change in
acreage containing these discoveries. Many on an anomalous amplitude variation with offset distance between shotpoint and receiver. AVO
responses indicate differences in lithology and uid con-
unappraised prospects have therefore been (AVO) elastic impedance response, and encoun- tent in rocks above and below the reector.
returned by the former owners and offered as tered a hydrocarbon column within the Forties 23. For additional examples: Poulin M, Hidore J, Sutiyono S,
new licenses. The availability of these licenses sandstone of nearly 50 ft [15 m] (next page).22 Herron M, Herron S, Seleznev N, Grau J, Horkowitz J,
Alden M and Chabernaud T: Deepwater Core Compari-
has attracted a number of operators new to the Timely petrophysical analyses using the son with Answers from a Real-Time Petrophysical
North Sea who saw economic potential in some DecisionXpress system facilitated the rapid deci- Evaluation, paper SPE 90134, presented at the SPE
Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, Houston,
of these relinquished blocks. One such operator sion making required to sidetrack or to run September 2629, 2004.
was OILEXCO, a Calgary-based company that is casing and test the wells. In addition, prompt Rasmus JC, Horkowitz JP, Chabernaud T, Graham P,
Summers M and Wise D: A New Formation Evaluation
currently developing Block 15/25b in the Outer analyses provided OILEXCO with important eco- Technique for the Lower Tertiary in South Texas
Moray Firth basin. nomic information to keep remote partners and Predicting Production in Low Permeability, Fine-Grained
Sandstones, paper SPE 90690, presented at the SPE
A thin oil column, discovered in 1990, other investors fully apprised of reservoir capac- International Petroleum Conference, Puebla, Mexico,
attracted the attention of OILEXCO (above). ity and likely producibility. The resultant November 79, 2004.
After reprocessing seismic data and mapping appraisal work conrmed that the Brenda accu-
possible stratigraphic traps, the company initi- mulation may be one of the largest discoveries in
ated a multiwell drilling program.21 To assist in UK waters in recent years, and development
understanding results from logging, the com- drilling using high-angle and horizontal wells
pany used the DecisionXpress system. Of the will commence in January 2006.

32 Oileld Review
Clay

Quartz/Feldspar/Mica

Mudcake Clay-Bound Water Carbonate

Washout Capillary-Bound Water Pyrite

Cable Tension Hydrocarbon Anhydrite


10,000 lbf 0
Moved Water Siderite
Bit Size
Free Water Coal
6 in. 16
Water
Calibrated Caliper DecisionXpress Water Moved Hydrocarbon Salt
6 in. 16 Mineralogy Hydrocarbon
Hydrocarbon Data Quality Data Quality
Net Reservoir Environmentally k-
Corrected Gamma Ray Flow Profile Permeability Total Porosity Total Porosity
Net Pay L P KSR
0 gAPI 200 0 1 10,000 mD 0.1 50 % 0 100 % 0

X,100

X,150

> Petrophysical analysis of Well 15/25b-8. The net pay ags in the depth track of this DecisionXpress display reveal
nearly 50 ft of oil pay near X,150 ft. Track 1 presents the gamma ray curve and lithology determined by the
DecisionXpress system. Track 3 shows hydrocarbon and water along with intrinsic permeability. Fluid saturations
and porosity are shown in Track 4. Detailed mineralogy, presented in Track 5, is determined using the ECS sonde and
DecisionXpress processing. As in all DecisionXpress presentations, a gray mask indicates that results are outside
tolerance specications.

Interpretation in Real Time interpretation minimizes interpretation bias. economically, operating companies can better
The DecisionXpress system has been applied As with any effort to automate tasks ordinarily plan formation-pressure and sampling jobs,
successfully to a wide range of siliciclastic reser- performed by people, automated interpreta- mechanical and percussion sidewall-coring jobs
voirs.23 This real-time interpretation is not fully tions must be carefully compared with other and formation-testing operations, or elect to run
applicable to carbonate reservoirs, largely due to data to ensure valid results. Comparisons of log casing, drill ahead, or sidetrack. In addition,
the lack of a universally accepted, robust satura- data to core and production data are critical for rapid petrophysical analysis supports long-term
tion-evaluation scheme. On the other hand, operators to use this technology, but with time, decision making, such as development of com-
the lithology and matrix property components of well-to-well comparisons should prove ade- pletion strategies, stimulation programs and
the system can bring signicant improvement to quate to validate interpretations. other operations. JS/GMG
carbonate evaluations, and they will be imple- The algorithms in the DecisionXpress system
mented in the future. yield fast and reliable petrophysical interpreta-
By limiting the number of parameters tion. By understanding how much hydrocarbon
selected by the log interpreter, automated is present, and whether it can be produced

Summer 2005 33
New Fibers for Hydraulic Fracturing

Efficient proppant transport is essential to successful hydraulic fracturing. While conventional


fracturing fluids rely on high fluid viscosities, a new approach employs synthetic fibers that provide
excellent proppant transport at low fluid viscosities. This technology, which has improved well
productivity in several fields, gives engineers more flexibility when designing fracturing treatments.

Craig H. Bivins
Bivins Energy Corporation
Dallas, Texas, USA

Curtis Boney
Chris Fredd
John Lassek
Phil Sullivan
Sugar Land, Texas

John Engels
Houston, Texas

Eugene O. Fielder
Devon Energy
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA

Tim Gorham
Chevron
McKittrick, California, USA
Fibers have been used in industry since stresses more evenly throughout the cement
antiquity. Ancient Egyptians used straw and matrix; as a result, the hardened cement is less
Tobias Judd
horsehair to reinforce mud bricks. Early Chinese susceptible to stress cracking and shattering
Mexico City, Mexico
and Japanese houses show evidence of straw during perforating.2
Alfredo E. Sanchez Mogollon mats to provide structural support.1 However, In the 1990s, Schlumberger introduced
Reynosa, Mexico until synthetic fibers became commercially CemNET advanced fiber cement, which
available during the early 20th Century, employed glass fibers to prevent lost circulation.3
Lloyd Tabor commercial applications were limited by the As a CemNET cement slurry flows across a lost-
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma properties of naturally occurring fibers. circulation zone during primary cementing, the
Today, a wide variety of manufactured fibers fibers form a bridging network and limit slurry
Ariel Valenzuela Muoz is available, mostly made from polymers, metals, loss from the annulus to the formation. This
PEMEX Exploracin y Produccin
glass or carbon. These fibers have properties that technology helps operators fill the annulus
Reynosa, Mexico
are revolutionizing many industries, particularly completely with cement, improving zonal
civil engineering, medicine, apparel and isolation and avoiding remedial cementing.4
Dean Willberg
Moscow, Russia transportation. The oil and gas industry, Fibers are also used to prevent proppant
especially the pumping-services sector, is also flowback, a serious problem associated with
For help in preparation of this article, thanks to benefiting from new fibrous materials. hydraulic fracturing.5 If proppant flows out of a
Ali Mazen, Sugar Land, Texas, USA; and Dharmesh Prasad, In the 1960s, engineers began adding nylon hydraulic fracture into the casing, well
Moscow, Russia.
CemNET, FiberFRAC, FracCADE, POD and PropNET are fibers to well cements for structural productivity declines, and damage to casing,
marks of Schlumberger. reinforcement. The fibers transmit localized control valves and wellhead equipment may

34 Oilfield Review
result. Pumped together with proppant in a
fracturing uid, the bers form a network that
stabilizes the proppant pack (below).6 To Casing
maintain proppant-pack integrity, the fibers
must be sufciently stable to remain in place
during the productive life of the well. Today, Fracturing fluid
three PropNET hydraulic fracturing proppant- Pay zone
pack additives, made from glass or polymer
bers, address a wide variety of well conditions.
Recently, Schlumberger researchers dis-
covered that, in addition to stabilizing a Proppant
proppant pack, fibers could enhance the
proppant-transport capabilities of fracturing
uids. Development of this concept in both the
laboratory and the field resulted in the
introduction of FiberFRAC ber-based fracturing
Casing
uid technology.
Fracturing fluid
This article describes how bers improve
proppant transport, discusses the practical
advantages of using bers, and shows how the
technology can be employed to improve Pay zone

hydraulic fracturing treatments. Case histories


from California, east Texas, the US midcontinent,
and northern Mexico illustrate the benets of
Proppant
the ber technology.

How Fibers Prevent Proppant Settling


Hydraulic fracturing treatments comprise two > Effects of proppant-settling velocities. High settling velocities cause
basic uid stages. The rst stage, or pad, does proppant to concentrate at the bottom of a fracture before it closes (top).
Low settling velocities promote complete and uniform distribution of
not contain proppant, and is pumped through proppant throughout the fracture (bottom).
casing perforations at a rate and pressure
sufficient to break down the formation and
create a fracture. The second stage, or proppant During injection and fracture closure, the rate of In either situation, proppant does not completely
slurry, transports proppant through the perfo- proppant settling greatly inuences the nal ll the fracture, and well productivity suffers. By
rations into the open fracture. When pumping propped-fracture geometry.7 contrast, low settling velocities promote a
ceases, the fracture closes onto the proppant. High settling velocities cause proppant to complete and uniform distribution of proppant
concentrate at the bottom of a fracture before it throughout the fracture, and provide the greatest
closes. In extreme cases, the proppant particles potential for reservoir stimulation and
form clusters that prevent further uid injection. productivity improvement (above).

1. Li VC: Large Volume, High-Performance Applications of 5. Proppants are sized particles mixed with fracturing uid
Fibers in Civil Engineering, Journal of Applied Polymer to hold fractures open after a hydraulic fracturing
Science 83, no. 2 (2002): 660686. treatment. In addition to naturally occurring sand grains,
2. Carter LG, Slagle KA and Smith DK: Stress Capabilities man-made or specially engineered proppants, such as
Improved by Resilient Cement, API Drilling and resin-coated sand or high-strength ceramic materials
Production Practices. Washington, DC: American like sintered bauxite, may also be used. Proppant
Petroleum Institute (1968): 2937. materials are carefully sorted for size and sphericity to
provide an efcient conduit for uid ow from the
3. Low N, Daccord G and Bedel J-P: Designing Fibered
reservoir to the wellbore.
Cement Slurries for Lost Circulation Applications: Case
Histories, paper SPE 84617, presented at the SPE 6. Card RJ, Howard PR and Fraud J-P: A Novel
Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, Denver, Technology to Control Proppant Backproduction,
October 58, 2003. paper SPE 31007, SPE Production and Facilities 110,
no. 4 (November 1995): 271276.
4. Abbas R, Jarouj H, Dole S, Junaidi EH, El-Hassan H,
Francis L, Hornsby L, McCraith S, Shuttleworth N, Armstrong K, Card R, Navarrette R, Nelson E, Nimerick K,
van der Plas K, Messier E, Munk T, Ndland N, Samuelson M, Collins J, Dumont G, Priaro M,
Svendsen RK, Therond E and Taoutaou S: A Safety Net Wasylycia N and Slusher G: Advanced Fracturing Fluids
for Controlling Lost Circulation, Oileld Review 15, no. 4 Improve Well Economics, Oileld Review 7, no. 3
(Winter 2003/2004): 2027. (Autumn 1995): 3451.
7. Constein VG: Fracturing Fluid and Proppant
Characterization, in Economides MJ and Nolte KG (eds):
Reservoir Stimulation, 2nd edition. Englewood Cliffs,
New Jersey, USA: Prentice Hall (1989): 5-15-23.
> PropNET hydraulic fracturing bers in a proppant
pack. During well cleanup and production, the ber
network prevents proppant ow out of the fracture.

Summer 2005 35
Casing

Fracturing fluid

Pay zone

Propped fracture

Casing
Fracturing fluid

Propped fracture Pay zone

> Effect of viscosity on fracture geometry and proppant placement. Excessive uid viscosity causes fracture growth
outside of the pay zone, promoting proppant settling and suboptimal production (top). Fluids with lower viscosities
reduce the fracture height (bottom). Adding bers helps to suspend the proppant until the fracture closes.

Proppant transport in conventional fracturing the overall efciency of the fracturing treatment sedimentation proceeds, a distinct particle-
uids is governed by a complex combination of suffers (above). liquid boundary does not develop; instead, the
parameters, including particle size and density, Therefore, engineers must design fracturing ber-particle mixture slowly compresses, leaving
fracture dimensions and base-uid rheological uids that transport proppant efciently, while little uid behind. This type of behavior is called
properties. Fluid viscosity is particularly keeping fractures within the pay zones. In many Kynch sedimentation (next page, top).11
important because it provides resistance to areas, achieving both goals is difcult, which The practical benet of Kynch sedimentation
gravitational settling, and helps transport the sometimes forces engineers to make compromises is that uid viscosity plays a much smaller role in
proppant along a fracture. Several studies have that lead to suboptimal results. Fortunately, bers determining the particle-settling velocity.
investigated proppant-settling rates versus uid offer a solution to this dilemma. Experiments show that, at a given base-uid
viscosity.8 One overarching fluid-viscosity Adding bers to a uid-particle suspension viscosity, fibers reduce the proppant-settling
guideline has emerged from these studies and dramatically alters particle-settling behavior. velocity by more than one order of magnitude.
field experience: for conventional fracturing When bers are not present, settling generally Equivalently, at a given settling rate, the
uids, the minimum uid viscosity to ensure proceeds according to Stokes law.10 The speed at required base-uid viscosity also decreases by
adequate proppant transport is about 100 cP at which particles fall through a uid is directly about one order of magnitude (next page,
100 s1 shear rate.9 proportional to particle size and density, and bottom). Indeed, in terms of particle
Fracturing-uid viscosity also affects fracture inversely proportional to fluid viscosity. As sedimentation, one may think of the bers as
geometry. As uid viscosity increases, fracture sedimentation proceeds, a distinct boundary providing virtual fluid viscosity. Use of
width increases. Unfortunately, the bottomhole forms between the particle bed and the uid FiberFRAC technology reduces the importance
treating pressure also increases, potentially lying above. of base-fluid viscosity as a settling-rate
causing excessive vertical fracture-height With bers present, Stokes law no longer determinant, giving engineers much wider
growth. If the fracture grows beyond the pay zone applies. The bers interfere with the particles, latitude when designing a fracturing treatment.
into nonproductive or water-producing intervals, physically hindering their downward journey. As

36 Oileld Review
Optimizing Fibers for Proppant Transport Conventional FiberFRAC
Appropriate bers for proppant transport must proppant slurry slurry
have the correct combination of length, diameter,
exibility and temperature stability. The bers
must be easy to disperse in a proppant slurry, and
able to pass through pumping equipment,
tubulars and perforations without breaking or
bridging. The bers cannot separate from the
proppant during placement. After placement, the
bers must be stable until the fracture closes.
However, unlike PropNET fibers, proppant-
transport bers should dissolve after fracture
closure to maximize proppant-pack conductivity.
Schlumberger scientists experimented with
many types of bers before nding products that
satised all these requirements. They chose two
fibers that cover two reservoir-temperature
ranges: 150F to 250F [66C to 121C] and
250F to 400F [204C]. During the development
of FiberFRAC technology, two laboratory
Stokes law sedimentation Kynch
evaluations were particularly important: the slot sedimentation
test and the proppant-pack conductivity test.
A slot test is a dynamic laboratory technique
to evaluate proppant transport. The test
apparatus has a transparent slot that simulates
an 8-ft long, 1-ft high and 516-in. wide [2.44-m by > Stokes law and Kynch sedimentation. In conventional fracturing uids,
30.4-cm by 0.47-cm] fracture. Proppant slurry proppant particles settle according to Stokes law, forming a distinct
ows through an orice simulating a perforation boundary between the proppant bed and the uid lying above (left). Proppant
and then passes across the slot, permitting slurries containing bers display Kynch sedimentation (right). As sedimentation
proceeds, a distinct particle-liquid boundary does not develop; instead, the
observation and measurement of proppant- ber-proppant mixture (inset) slowly compresses, leaving little uid behind.
transport efficiency. One test compared the
performance of conventional and FiberFRAC
slurries, each using the same base fluid.
Proppant of 20/40-mesh size was added at a

8. Novotny EJ: Proppant Transport, paper SPE 6813,


presented at the SPE Annual Fall Technical Conference
and Exhibition, Denver, October 912, 1977.
Roodhart LP: Proppant Settling in Non-Newtonian No fiber
Initial settling rate, mm/min

Fracturing Fluid, paper SPE/DOE 13905, presented at the 100


SPE/DOE Low Permeability Gas Reservoirs Symposium,
Denver, March 912, 1985.
Acharya A: Particle Transport in Viscous and
Viscoelastic Fracturing Fluids, paper SPE 13179, SPE 10
Production Engineering 1, no. 2 (March 1984): 104110.
.
9. Shear rate, , is the velocity gradient measured across
the diameter of a uid-ow channel, such as a pipe,
annulus or other shape. In most oileld viscometers, the
shear rate is the velocity difference between a rotating 1
sleeve and a cylinder (or bob) mounted concentrically
inside the sleeve. When uid is present in the annulus
between the bob and sleeve, the bob experiences 1 10 100
torque as the sleeve rotates. This force is called shear Fluid viscosity, cP
stress, . Viscosity, , is the shear-stress to shear-rate
.
ratio, = /. The viscosity of many uids varies with
shear rate. Therefore, viscosity specications must 0.00 % fiber by weight of fluid
include the shear rate. In this article, the shear rate for
0.75 % fiber by weight of fluid
all viscosities is 100 s1.
(2gr 2)(d1d2) 1.00 % fiber by weight of fluid
10. According to Stokes law, V = , where V is
9 1.50 % fiber by weight of fluid
the particle-fall velocity (cm/s), g is the acceleration of 2.00 % fiber by weight of fluid
gravity (cm/s2), r is the equivalent particle radius (cm),
d1 is the particle density (g/cm3), d2 is the uid density > Proppant-settling velocities with and without bers. When bers are
(g/cm3) and is the uid viscosity (dyne-s/cm2). present, the particle-settling rate in a proppant slurry is more than one order
11. Tiller FM: Revision of Kynch Sedimentation Theory, of magnitude slower than that observed in a uid without bers (blue). At a
American Institute of Chemical Engineers Journal 27, given settling rate, the required base-uid viscosity also falls by about one
no. 5 (1981): 823828. order of magnitude.

Summer 2005 37
concentration of 2 lbm [0.9 kg] to each gallonUS
50-gallon [3.8 L] of fracturing uid (2 ppa).12 The pump
mixing tanks rates for the conventional and FiberFRAC
slurries were 26.6 and 17.4 gal/min [101 and
66.1 L/min], respectively. Despite the higher
1-ft x 8-ft x 516-in. slot pump rate, proppant in the conventional uid
and 516-in. perforation
separated and fell to the bottom of the slot. The
FiberFRAC slurry was stable, bers were evenly
dispersed, and all proppant remained in
suspension during the test (left). In addition, the
FiberFRAC Slurry
bers did not break or bridge while passing
through the perforation.
Proppant-pack conductivity is a direct function
of the void space between the proppant particles;
therefore, it would be best if the FiberFRAC bers
disappeared. Unlike PropNET bers, which
must maintain a rigid network, FiberFRAC bers
are no longer needed after proppant-slurry
2 ppa 20/40-mesh proppant at 17.4 gal/min placement and fracture closure. For this reason,
Schlumberger scientists chose polymers that
Conventional Proppant Slurry slowly dissolve (below left). Laboratory testing
conrmed that, once the bers dissolved,
the resulting proppant-pack conductivity was
essentially identical to that obtained from the
same uid without bers (next page, top).

Wellsite Delivery
Proper execution of a hydraulic fracturing
treatment requires smooth and stable mixing of
2 ppa 20/40-mesh proppant at 26.6 gal/min all fluid components at the correct concen-
trations. Fibers have a high length-to-diameter
> Slot tests comparing the performance of FiberFRAC ber-based fracturing ratio; consequently, adding and dispersing them in
uid and conventional proppant slurries. A schematic diagram of the slot a proppant slurry may be a challenge. Fortunately,
apparatus (top) shows the uid path. The photographs show proppant slurries
owing across the slot. Both tests used the same base uid with 2 ppa of this problem was addressed previously, during the
20/40-mesh ceramic proppant. The FiberFRAC slurry is stable (middle), while development of PropNET technology.
proppant in the conventional slurry (bottom) falls to the bottom of the slot. The POD programmable optimum density
blender is equipped with a special feeder for
adding bers to fracturing uids (next page,
bottom). This feeder comprises a hopper into
which the bers are poured, and an auger that
100 blends the bers into the proppant slurry at a
90 steady rate. During large treatments, a conveyer
80 belt transports bers into the feeder.
Fiber decomposition time, days

Low-temperature fiber
70 The physical and chemical properties of
60
FiberFRAC bers differ from those of PropNET
fibers. Therefore, before pumping actual
50
treatments, mixing tests were necessary to verify
40
High-temperature fiber the suitability of the existing feeder on a POD
30
blender. Minor auger recalibration compensated
20 for the different bulk density and ow properties
10 of dry FiberFRAC bers. Actual eld treatments
0 could then proceed.
150 175 200 225 250 275 300 325 350 375 400
Temperature, F 12. Proppant concentrations are commonly expressed in
pounds of proppant added, or ppa. One ppa means
> Decomposition rates of two types of FiberFRAC bers. The low-temperature that one pound of proppant is added to each gallon of
fracturing uid. It must not be confused with the more
ber (blue) is used at temperatures between 150 and 250F. The high- common pounds per gallon, or lbm/gal. During
temperature ber (red) is used at temperatures between and 250 and 400F. hydraulic fracturing treatments, ppa better reects eld
Both bers decompose within days to weeks. practice. There is no recognized metric equivalent to ppa.

38 Oileld Review
100
90 Press frame
200F 275F
Retained permeability, %

80
68% 66% 69% 68%
70
60 Heated platens
50
40
30
20 Force actuator Core Core
10
0 Conductivity
No 30 lbm/1,000 gal No 30 lbm/1,000 gal cell
fiber FiberFRAC fiber fiber FiberFRAC fiber
Guar concentration: 18 lbm/1,000 gal Guar concentration: 20 lbm/1,000 gal

Pressure transducer
> Effect of FiberFRAC bers on proppant-pack conductivity. The conductivity Backpressure
test (right) involves placing a proppant slurry between two cores, and regulator
Fluid leakoff
inserting the proppant sandwich in a conductivity cell. The cores are Core
heated and compressed in the cell to simulate downhole conditions, and
uid from the proppant slurry leaks off through the cores. After leakoff, brine
is pumped through the proppant pack, and the pressure drop is recorded.
FiberFRAC bers have a minimal effect on the proppant-pack conductivity
(left). In these experiments, the proppant was 20/40-mesh bauxite, and the
closure stress was 5,000 psi [35 Mpa].

Proppant pack

Fiber hopper

POD blender

> Wellsite delivery. A hopper above the POD programmable optimum density blender feeds bers into the fracturing uid.

Summer 2005 39
Stimulating the Monterey Formation
in California Well A Well B
Chevron initiated the first applications of
Total depth, ft 2,860 3,181
FiberFRAC technology at the Lost Hills eld in
Bottomhole 125 125
California, USA.13 The oil-producing Monterey static temperature,F
formation is composed of diatomite with a high Hole size, in. 8.75 8.75
Perforation
porosity45 to 65%and a relatively low density, shots/ft 4 4
permeability of 1 to 7 mD. The reservoir pressure
Perforated intervals, ft
ranges from 500 to 1,400 psi [3.5 to 9.8 MPa], at
an average bottomhole temperature of 125F Stage 1 2,610 to 2,620 2,835 to 2,845
[51.7C]. The pay zone is 800 to 1,200 ft [152 to Stage 2 2,340 to 2,350 2,630 to 2,640, 2,660 to 2,670
366 m] thick at an average depth of about 1,800 ft Stage 3 2,120 to 2,130 2,420 to 2,430, 2,460 to 2,470
Stage 4 1,750 to 1,760
[549 m]. The stress barriers lying above and
below the pay zone are weak, and may not
Total sand, lbm 1,252,000 1,230,000
contain a hydraulic fracture. Total fluid, gal 327,000 334,000
The most interesting feature of this diatomite
is its softness. The Youngs modulus is extremely
Treatment overview for Lost Hills A and B wells, California, USA.
low50,000 to 300,000 psi [345 to 2,070 MPa]
about one order of magnitude less than that of
hard sandstones.14
These rock properties make conventional
fracturing fluids difficult to use. The high 70
viscosities of crosslinked fracturing uids create
1,000 lbm proppant/ft of interval

excessive near-wellbore fracture width. Because


60
of the weak stress barriers, there is little control
of fracture height. Previous treatments with a
bbl/day

50
conventional 350-cP [0.35-Pa.s] borate-
crosslinked guar uid system usually resulted in
40
short, wide fractures that extended beyond the
pay zone. This ballooning of the fracture also
caused signicant proppant-owback problems. 30
Average oil production,

Schlumberger engineers used the FracCADE


fracturing design and evaluation software to 20 Fiber, 1,700 lbm proppant/ft of interval
determine the uid properties required to create Crosslinked fluid, 2,100 lbm proppant/ft of interval
longer, narrower fractures that would be conned 10 Crosslinked fluid, 2,500 lbm proppant/ft of interval
within the pay zone. The computer simulations
predicted that the uid viscosity should be less 0
than 100 cP [0.1 Pa.s]. In light of the proppant- 30-d average 60-d average 90-d average
transport guidelines described earlier, Chevron
stimulated the next group of wells with > Average production from Lost Hills wells treated by conventional and
FiberFRAC technology. After preliminary FiberFRAC uids. The production rates are normalized to the amount of
proppant placed in the fractures. After 90 days, the FiberFRAC wells were
laboratory testing, a 33-cP [0.03-Pa.s] linear
more efcient producers than their conventional counterparts.
(uncrosslinked) guar solution was chosen as the
base uid. The FracCADE simulator also showed
that the FiberFRAC treatments would require
less proppant, because the fractures would be
narrower and conned within the pay zone. The seven treatments involved multiple zones showed that the average fracture length was
The Lost Hills hydraulic fracturing program in two wells (top). Well A was treated in four 182 ft [55.5 m], compared to 145 ft [44.2 m] for
benefited from surface tiltmeter fracture stages, Well B in three. Bridge plugs provided the conventional treatments. As predicted by
mapping performed by Chevron while fracturing zonal isolation between the stages. The simulations, much less proppant was required to
with conventional uids.15 The company also perforations were oriented to induce fracture achieve the longer fractures: 1,700 lbm of
installed tiltmeters during seven FiberFRAC growth in the preferred direction.16 proppant per foot of interval [2,530 kg per meter],
treatments, giving engineers a rare opportunity The FiberFRAC treatments were pumped compared with 2,100 to 2,500 lbm per foot [3,130
to compare fractures created by both types successfully, without fiber bridging at the to 3,730 kg per meter] for the conventional jobs.
of uids. perforations or difficulties placing proppant After 90 days, the production rates from wells
inside fractures. Analysis of the tiltmeter data treated with conventional and ber-laden uids

40 Oileld Review
Well 1 Well 2 340F [93 and 182C]. The Youngs modulus of Petrophysical analysis revealed that, because
Dolomite Dolomite the sandstone is 5,000,000 psi [34,470 MPa], of the high Youngs modulus, the minimum uid
more than one order of magnitude greater than viscosity needed to achieve sufcient hydraulic
Limestone Limestone
the Lost Hills diatomite mentioned earlier. fracture width for ber placement was 50 cP
Sand Sand
For this geological situation, the main [0.05 Pa.s]. To prevent excessive fracture-height
Shale Shale fracturing design challenges include the need for growth, the upper uid-viscosity limit was 150 cP
long fractures, limited fracture-height growth, [0.15 Pa.s]. At a uid temperature of 260F, a
good proppant coverage over the entire fracture delayed borate-crosslinked guar uid satised
surface and minimal proppant-pack damage. In these requirements. The polymer concentration
addition, the fracturing uid must be stable at was 18 lbm/1,000 galUS [2.2 kg/m3]. Without
high temperatures. fibers present, 30 to 35 lbm of guar per
Many operators have performed conventional 1,000 galUS [3.6 to 4.2 kg/m3] would be necessary
massive hydraulic fracturing treatments in this to achieve adequate proppant transport. In
formation, using crosslinked polymer fluids. addition to reducing the fluid cost, using
Unfortunately, these treatments often create less polymer improves the proppant-pack
large fractures that extend into nonproductive conductivity and increases well productivity.20
zones, and require large volumes of polymer The FiberFRAC treatments were completed
and proppant, reducing the economic viability on a group of offset wells with similar lithological
of stimulation. characteristics (left). The permeabilities and
On the other end of the viscosity spectrum, zone heights for both wells, collectively
fracturing with slick-waterwater plus a expressed as kh, were essentially the same: 0.30
friction reduceris a popular stimulation
13. Vasudevan S, Willberg DM, Wise JA, Gorham TL,
method for this formation.17 The viscosity of slick- Dacar RC, Sullivan PF, Boney CL and Mueller F:
water is about 1 cP. Exerting sufcient force to Field Test of a Novel Low Viscosity Fracturing Fluid
in the Lost Hills Field, California, paper SPE 68854,
initiate and propagate a fracture during the pad presented at the SPE Western Regional Meeting,
stage, and to transport proppant, requires high Bakerseld, California, USA, March 2630, 2001.
pump rates, usually greater than 50 bbl/min 14. Youngs modulus, E, is an elastic constant that indicates
how a material deforms when subjected to stress.
> Lithology of Wells 1 and 2 in the Lower Cotton [7.9 m3/min]. The proppant concentration in the Resistance of a material to deformation increases with
Valley formation. The logs conrm a nearly uid is low, usually less than 2 ppa. The proppant the value of E.
identical sand series in the two wells. VanVlack LH: A Textbook of Materials Technology.
size is usually small40/70 meshto minimize Reading, Massachusetts, USA: Addison Wesley (1973):
the Stokes law settling rate. This method is 1112.
much less expensive than massive hydraulic 15. Surface tiltmeter fracture mapping directly measures
fracture orientation, fracture volume, geometry and
fracturing, and has greatly expanded the number approximate location. Tiltmeters measure miniscule
of wells that can be economically stimulated. changes in surface tilt at many points around the well
during a hydraulic fracturing treatment. They operate
However, further investigations revealed that, like a carpenters level. The tiltmeter data are analyzed
were the same; however, the FiberFRAC wells when normalized for reservoir and producing- to determine the fracture parameters that would
produce the observed deformation eld.
required 30% less proppant. On a typical Lost system conditions, wells stimulated in this Barree RD, Fisher MK and Woodroof RA: A Practical
Hills well, this is equivalent to obtaining the manner were less productive than those Guide to Hydraulic Fracture Diagnostic Technologies,
paper SPE 77442, presented at the SPE Annual
same production rates with 720,000 lbm treated conventionally.18 Despite the high pump Technical Conference and Exhibition, San Antonio,
[327,000 kg] less proppant (previous page, rates, small proppant sizes and low proppant Texas, USA, September 29October 2, 2002.
bottom). In addition, because of narrower near- concentrations, proppant tends to settle 16. Acock A, Heitmann N, Hoover S, Zia Malik B,
Pitoni E, Riddles C and Solares JR: Screenless
wellbore fracture width, little or no proppant relatively close to the wellbore, limiting the Methods to Control Sand, Oileld Review 15, no. 1
owback occurred during production. effective fracture length. (Spring 2003): 4243.
17. Mayerhofer MJ and Meehan DN: Waterfracs: Results
Neither conventional nor slick-water treat- from 50 Cotton Valley Wells, paper SPE 49104,
Improving Production in the Lower Cotton ments can address all of the stimulation presented at the SPE Annual Technical Conference and
Exhibition, New Orleans, September 2730, 1998.
Valley Formation challenges posed by the Cotton Valley formation.
18. England KW, Poe BD and Conger JG: Comprehensive
The Lower Cotton Valley formation of east Texas This area requires a low-viscosity fracturing uid Evaluation of Fractured Gas Wells Utilizing Production
and northern Louisiana, USA, consists of thin, that transports proppant efciently. Following Data, paper SPE 60285, presented at the SPE Rocky
Mountain Regional/Low Permeability Reservoir
laminated, gas-producing sandstones between the success of ber-laden fracturing uids in Symposium and Exhibition, Denver, March 1215, 2000.
shale layers. The permeability ranges between California, FiberFRAC technology was proposed 19. Engels JN, Martinez E, Fredd CN, Boney CL and
Holms BA: A Mechanical Methodology of Improved
0.001 and 0.05 mD. Gas-producing formations for the Cotton Valley formation.19 The first Proppant Transport in Low-Viscosity Fluids: Application
with such low permeabilities are often classied application occurred in the Okio eld, operated of a Fiber-Assisted Transport Technique in East Texas,
paper SPE 91434, presented at the SPE Eastern
as tight gas. Reservoir depths range from 10,000 by Bivins Operating Company. The producing Regional Meeting, Charleston, West Virginia, USA,
to 14,000 ft [3,048 to 4,270 m], and the reservoir depth was 13,000 to 14,000 ft [3,960 to September 1517, 2004.
bottomhole temperatures vary between 200 and 4,270 m], and the bottomhole temperature was 20. Nimerick KH, Temple HL and Card RJ: New pH-
Buffered Low-Polymer Borate-Crosslinked Fluids,
260F [127C]. paper SPE 35638, presented at the SPE Gas Technology
Conference, Calgary, April 28May 1, 1996.

Summer 2005 41
and 0.28 mD-ft.21 Well 1 was treated with ber- Initial production from Well 1 was 3.1 million To date, more than 120 FiberFRAC
laden uid; slick-water was used on Well 2. For ft3/d [87,800 m3/d], while that from Well 2 was treatments have been performed in east Texas
Well 1, engineers pumped the 18-lbm/1,000 galUS 0.70 million ft3/d [19,800 m3/d]. After 90 days of and Louisiana. More than 22 million lbm
borate-crosslinked guar system, and the production, Well 1 produced at an average rate of [10 million kg] of proppant have been placed,
proppant slurries contained 1 to 6 ppa 20/40- 1.9 million ft3/d [53,800 m3/d], while the average using more than 7 million gallons [26,500 m3] of
mesh sand. On average, 390,000 lbm [176,900 kg] production rate from Well 2 was 0.66 million ft3/d fiber-laden fluid. Bottomhole temperatures
of proppant were placed during each treatment. [18,700 m3/d]. During this period, the cumulative varied between 197 and 339F [93 and 182C],
By contrast, the proppant slurries during the gas production from Well 1 was seven times with the majority pumped at about 265F
slick-water treatments contained 0.25 to 4 ppa greater than that of Well 2 (below). [129C]. The largest ber-laden treatment to
40/70-mesh sand, and the average amount of date placed 850,000 lbm [385,000 kg]
proppant placed was 200,000 lbm [90,700 kg]. of proppant.

Improving Gas Production in the


10.0 Barnett Shale
Well 1fiber-assisted technology The Barnett shale is among the fastest growing
Well 2slick-water fracture onshore gas elds in the United States. Devon
Gas rate, million ft3/day

Energy operates 550,000 acres [222,530 ha] in


the Fort Worth basin in northern Texas. The 200-
1.0
to 600-ft [60-to 180-m] thick Barnett shale is
even tighter than the Lower Cotton Valley
sandstone. The permeability is 0.0001 mD, and
the Youngs modulus ranges from 2 to 3 million
psi [13,790 to 20,680 MPa]. The average depth
and bottomhole temperature are 8,000 ft and
0.1 200F [2,440 m and 93C], respectively.
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 110 120 130
Time, days The stimulation history of the Barnett shale is
similar to that of the Lower Cotton Valley
> Gas production from Wells 1 and 2 in the Lower Cotton Valley formation. The well stimulated with sandstone. Operators initially performed massive
ber-laden fracturing uid (dark blue) produced considerably more gas during the rst 130 days of hydraulic fracturing treatments, involving uids
production than the well stimulated with slick water (gray).
with high polymer concentrations and nearly 1.5
million pounds [680,400 kg] of proppant. The
treatment costs were high, and the resulting
100 production was often insufficient to justify
Production normalized to interval height, million ft3/ft

commercial development of the Barnett shale.


To reduce treatment costs, many operators
80
switched to slick-water fracturing fluids.22
FiberFRAC well production data Smaller sand treatments, usually involving about
60 200,000 lbm of proppant and increased liquid
volume, were promising and greatly increased
40
the number of wells that could be stimulated
economically. However, certain areas did not
Offset well production data
fulll their production potential. The estimated
20 ultimate recovery (EUR) of the problem areas
was generally greater than 1,000 million ft3 [28
0 million m3].23 In these tight formations, fracture
0 30 60 90 120 150 180 length largely determines well productivity.
Time, days
Because slick-water has limited transport
capability, the effective fracture lengths were not
> Production after stimulation in the Barnett shale. Wells stimulated with
FiberFRAC uid (blue) outperformed those stimulated with slick-water (red).
sufficient to achieve the desired well
When normalized to the interval height, the FiberFRAC wells were twice as productivity.
productive. To obtain more effective proppant distribution
and improve well productivity Devon Energy used
ber-laden fracturing uids. The fracturing uid
21. kh is the product of the formation permeability (k) and 23. Estimated ultimate recovery (EUR) is dened as the
the zone height (h), expressed in mD-ft. quantity of hydrocarbon that is estimated to be was a borate-crosslinked guar system with a
22. Brister BS and Lammons L: Waterfracs Prove potentially recoverable from an accumulation, plus the polymer concentration of 18 lbm/1,000 galUS. The
Successful in Some Texas Basins, Oil & Gas Journal 98, quantity already produced.
proppant concentration varied from 0.5 to 3 ppa.
no. 12 (March 20, 2000): 7476. 24. Tapia NGE, Ruiz JM, Ramisa LR, Mengual JF and
Cern AS: Well Construction and Field Development in The treatment placed 540,000 lbm [245,000 kg] of
Mexico, Oileld Review 15, no. 4 (Winter 2003/2004): 20/40-mesh sand. Following the treatment,
4653.

42 Oileld Review
Well 1 Well 2

Neutron Porosity Neutron Porosity


Depth, Depth,
Gamma Ray ft Caliper Gamma Ray ft Caliper

2,850

2,900

2,900

2,950

> Openhole logs of offset wells in Arcabuz-Culebra eld. Well 1 (left), treated conventionally, had nearly identical petrophysical characteristics when
compared with Well 2 (right), treated with FiberFRAC uid.

production was monitored and compared with The rst treatment took place near offset The Future of Fiber-Assisted Transport
that of conventional slick-water treatments wells with similar kh values. The kh value of The eld application of FiberFRAC technology is
(previous page, bottom). During the rst 80 days of Well 1 was 86.3 mD-ft, while that of Well 2 was still in its infancy; however, initial results
production, the wells treated with FiberFRAC 94.7 mD-ft. (above). Before stimulation, Well 1 confirm the promise demonstrated during
technology delivered an additional 25 million ft3 produced 300,000 ft3/d [8,500 m3/d] of gas, while laboratory development. Low-viscosity, fiber-
[708,000 m3] of gas compared with the offset wells. Well 2 did not produce at all. laden fracturing uids appear to be particularly
Well 1 was treated conventionally with a appropriate for stimulating formations that
Improving Gas Recovery in Northern Mexico 30-lbm/1,000 galUS [3.6-kg/m3] borate-crosslinked require careful fracture-height control.
The Arcabuz-Culebra eld, operated by PEMEX guar system, placing 200,000 lbm of ceramic Fibers also provide mechanical support for
Exploracin y Produccin in northern Mexico, is proppant into the fracture. The FiberFRAC the proppant as it travels down a fracture,
part of the larger Burgos basin that extends into treatment in Well 2 employed a less maximizing the effective fracture length. This
south Texas, USA. The pay zone is the Wilcox viscous, 20-lbm/1,000 galUS [2.4-kg/m3] borate- attribute is particularly valuable when
formation, a gas-producing sandstone that is crosslinked guar uid and, like Well 1, 200,000 lbm stimulating low-permeability gas formations.
frequently associated with water-producing of proppant were placed at concentrations Fiber-laden fluids are probably not
intervals.24 Today, the basin produces around ranging from 1 to 8 ppa. The pump rate for economically justifiable for stimulating wells
1,000 million ft3/d, and PEMEX is working to both treatments was 30 bbl/min [4.8 m3/min]. with an EUR below about 1,000 million ft3 of gas.
double this production rate. Following the treatments, the gas production rate Under these circumstances, slick-water appears
The Youngs modulus of the Wilcox sandstone from Well 2 was more than ve times greater than to be the more appropriate fracturing uid.
is 4 to 4.5 million psi [27,580 to 31,030 MPa], and that of Well 1. In addition, the water production An increasing number of elds could benet
the permeability ranges from 0.001 to 0.05 mD. rate from Well 2 was only half that of Well 1. In from FiberFRAC technology. Candidate selection
Most wells are drilled to depths of 9,500 to light of these results, more fracturing treatments is presently under way in the US and Canadian
9,800 ft [2,895 to 2,987 m], where the bottomhole with ber-laden uids are planned. Rocky Mountains, and in Russia. Further use of
temperature is about 250F. These formation FiberFRAC technology will more clearly
characteristics require a low-viscosity fracturing dene the window of well conditions in which it
fluid to minimize fracture entry into the is appropriate. EBN
water-producing layers. Because of the low
formation permeability, long fractures are
needed to maximize well productivity. Therefore,
Schlumberger proposed FiberFRAC technology
as a solution.

Summer 2005 43
Using Casing to Drill Directional Wells

Drilling with large-diameter tubulars eliminates the need to run conventional


drillpipe, which then must be pulled to install permanent casing. It can mitigate lost
circulation, enhance well control and reduce nonproductive rig time, and also
decrease the risk of unintentional sidetracks or stuck pipe. Fewer trips into and out
of a well, improved wellsite safety, increased efciency and lower cost have led to
an expanding range of applications that now includes casing directional drilling.

Kyle R. Fontenot The use of casing for drilling is an emerging Minimizing the number of pipe trips during
ConocoPhillips technology that can reduce well-construction drilling operations reduces incidents of hole
Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela costs, improve operational efficiency and collapse from swabbing and surging, decreases
safety, and minimize environmental impact. the chance of an unintentional sidetrack and
Bill Lesso Fundamentally simple in principle, this drilling minimizes wear inside previously installed
Houston, Texas, USA technique uses the large-diameter tubulars that surface or intermediate casing strings. After
will be permanently installed in a wellbore in reaching total depth (TD), the casing is already
R. D. (Bob) Strickler
place of conventional drillpipe. The economic in place, eliminating the need to pull drillpipe
ConocoPhillips
Houston, Texas demands of complex geologic settings, smaller and then run permanent casing.
reservoirs with limited recoverable reserves, and This reduction in pipe handling improves
Tommy M. Warren the need to optimize development and wellsite safety and allows drillers to use standard-
Tesco Corporation exploitation of mature fields make drilling size rigs or smaller rigs built specically to drill
Houston, Texas operations with casing increasingly attractive to with casing. New compact rigs for drilling
operating companies. operations with casing require lower horsepower,
For help in preparation of this article, thanks to Lee Conn, A conventional rotary drill bit or a special use less fuel, produce fewer emissions, operate
M-I SWACO, Houston; and Mike Williams, Sugar Land, Texas.
ABC (Analysis Behind Casing), PowerDrive, PowerDrive drilling shoe can be attached to the end of a from smaller surface locations, and can be moved
Xceed and PowerDrive Xtra are marks of Schlumberger. casing string to drill vertical wells. For additional more quickly and easily than larger conventional
Casing Drilling, Casing Drive System and Drill Lock exibility and for those applications that require rigs (next page).
Assembly (DLA) are marks of Tesco Corporation.
DrillShoe is a mark of Weatherford. directional control, a retrievable bottomhole Compared with traditional drilling operations,
EZ Case is a mark of Hughes Christensen, a division of assembly (BHA) for drilling can be deployed, casing while drilling minimizes rig downtime
Baker Hughes, Inc. locked in place and then retrieved by wireline resulting from unexpected occurrences, such as
cable. Running and retrieving this BHA through stuck pipe or loss of well control from an inux,
casing eliminate tripping of drillpipe into and or kick, of formation uid. Anecdotal evidence
out of a wellbore and provide added protection indicates that drilling with larger diameter
for the advanced systems used in downhole tubular connections reduces lost circulation by
measurements and directional-drilling applications. mechanically plastering cuttings and drilled
solids into the borehole wall.

44 Oileld Review
It is possible that this smearing effect
builds an impermeable ltercake or creates a
solid surface nish that may allow weak, low-
pressure and depleted intervals to be drilled
without signicant loss of drilling uid.
Casing strings have longer joints than
standard drillpipe, which means that drillers
make about 25% fewer connections. Another
benet is less time spent circulating uid or
backreaming to maintain hole stability while
making pipe connections. In addition to
improving drilling efficiency, both of these
advantages further reduce overall cost and
environmental impact.
Drilling operations with casing eliminate
several steps in the conventional well-
construction process and provide other critical
advantages, including better uid circulation
and removal of formation cuttings for more
effective hole cleaning. As operators gain
experience in an area, drilling penetration rates
with casing usually improve, ultimately matching
or surpassing penetration rates previously
achieved with drillpipe when comparing days per
1,000 ft [305 m] or feet per day.
Analysis of wells drilled to date with casing
indicates that this technique can reduce
nonproductive rig time by as much as 50% and
cut drilling time by a nominal 10 to 35% per well
in some applications. About one-third of this
reduction results from decreased tripping of
pipe; the remainder comes from avoiding
unexpected drilling problems and from
eliminating the time required to install casing in
a separate operation.
This faster, simpler and more efficient
process translates into fewer drilling surprises
and lower costs. Advances in tools, equipment
and procedures are expanding the use of this
technology for drilling soft and hard formations
both onshore and offshore, and most recently for
casing directional drilling.
We rst review the use of casing for drilling,
including ongoing inll development activity in
south Texas, and then discuss how > Casing while drilling and casing directional drilling. During the past ve years, ConocoPhillips and
simultaneously drilling and casing a well helps Tesco Corporation drilled extensively with casingmore than 1,050,000 ft [320,040 m]in south
reduce borehole problems. The results from Texas, recently expanding applications to include directional operations and compact purpose-built
rigs, such as the one shown here. This technique improved drilling efciency and effectively
recent testing of directional operations with eliminated lost circulation in about 110 wells. These results and similar experience in other areas
casing demonstrate how rotary steerable system indicate that casing can be used to avoid lost circulation and drill through pressure-depleted zones
(RSS) technology improves drilling efciency in mature elds that are difcult to drill using conventional drillpipe, onshore and offshore.
compared with steerable downhole motors,
especially for smaller borehole sizes.

Summer 2005 45
A Fundamental Change in Well Construction wellbore tubulars also have been used for the Arun gas eld in North Sumatra, Indonesia.3
Both positive-displacement motor (PDM) and slimhole drilling at various times since the 1950s. Amoco also employed this technique to drill wells
RSS technologies utilize drillpipe. This specially In the 1960s, Brown Oil Tools, now Baker Oil in the Norwegian North Sea Valhall eld.4
designed, thick-wall pipe is run to the bottom of Tools, patented a relatively advanced system for In 2001, BP and Tesco reported success using
a borehole and pulled back out, perhaps several drilling with casing that included retrievable casing to drill surface and production casing
times while drilling a well, and again to install pilot bits, underreamers to enlarge hole size, intervals for 15 gas wells in the Wamsutter area
and cement a permanent string of casing during and downhole motors. However, low penetration of Wyoming, USA. These wells ranged in depth
a separate operation distinct from the rest of the rates compared with conventional rotary from 8,200 to 9,500 ft [2,499 to 2,896 m].5 At
drilling process. drilling restricted the commercial application about the same time, Shell Exploration and
Introduction of the downhole PDM in the of this system.2 Production Company dramatically improved
1960s facilitated drilling without full-string pipe Research and development continued at a drilling performance in south Texas by drilling
rotation. These systems use mud owing through slow pace until the late 1980s, when economic underbalanced with casing, realizing a cost
a turbine or a rotor-stator power section to and market conditions stimulated renewed reduction of about 30%.6
generate torque downhole. Steerable motors interest in drilling with conventional tubing, To date, operators have drilled more than
with a xed bend angle, or bent housing, allow coiled tubing and other slimhole techniques. At 2,000 wellbore sections using casing. More than
simultaneous control of borehole azimuth and about the same time, Amoco, now BP, 1,020 of these intervals have involved vertical
inclination angle, which subsequently resulted in documented success drilling and coring with drilling with casing and nonretrievable bits,
better directional control and routine mining equipment and tubulars. In the 1990s, about 620 were drilled using partial liners, more
construction of high-angle wellbores, horizontal operators began using liners to drill from than 400 used a retrievable BHA for vertical
borehole sections in the 1980s and, eventually, normally pressured formations into pressure- drilling, and about 12 used a retrievable BHA
extended-reach wells in the 1990s. depleted intervals. for directional drilling. All of these early
In the late 1990s, rotary steerable systems This approach avoided problems, such as hole applications helped casing while drilling evolve
helped operators set new records in extended- instability and enlargement, lost circulation and from a new technology with unproven reliability
reach drilling (ERD). This technology, including well control, which plagued conventional drilling to a practical solution that can reduce costs,
the Schlumberger PowerDrive and PowerDrive operations. Mobil, now ExxonMobil, used partial increase drilling efficiency and minimize
Xtra rotary steerable systems, and the liners to drill from higher pressure transition zones nonproductive rig time.
PowerDrive Xceed rotary steerable system for into the extremely depleted limestone reservoirs of
harsh, rugged environments, facilitates
directional control and steering of the bit while Conventional Retrievable BHA Nonretrievable Drilling Retrievable Drilling
continuously rotating the entire drillstring. Drilling for Liner Drilling BHA for Casing BHA for Casing
Roller-cone or xed-cutter bits on the end of
rotating drillpipe have monopolized the drilling
Drillpipe
of oil and gas wells for a century. However, new
Surface
concepts and design improvements in rotary rigs casing
and drill bits have been the norm since these
tools were introduced in the early 1900s. As a
Liner
result, penetration rates and bit life have Intermediate hanger
casing
improved dramatically during this period.1
Using casing to drill oil and gas wells
Liner
represents a fundamental change in the process of
constructing a wellbore. Casing while drilling Production
Underreamer casing
provides the same hole-making capability as
drillpipe operations, with better removal of drilled
cuttings and improved hole-cleaning performance.
Drill
The casing used for drilling can be a partial liner or PDC bit PDC shoe
a full string (right). From its earliest applications pilot bit

until the recent surge in activity, using casing for > Simultaneous drilling and casing with partial liners or full casing strings. Drilling operations
drilling has shown signicant potential compared traditionally involved roller-cone or xed-cutter bits on the end of rotating drillpipe (left). As
with conventional drilling. alternatives to this standard approach, operators and service companies developed and tested
various systems for drilling with liners and casing. Drilling with a partial liner uses enough pipe to
In the 1920s, the Russian oil industry case the open hole and omits the upper part of the casing string (middle left). Conventional drillpipe
reported the development of retractable bits for conveys the bottomhole assembly (BHA) to target depth and carries the main drilling loads. A liner
use in drilling operations with casing. In the hanger or packer connects the drillstring with the liner. The BHA can be retrieved only when the hole
is nished. If a BHA failure occurs, the entire drillstring and liner must be pulled. Liner hanger
1930s, operators in the continental USA used
position within the previous casing string limits the maximum drilling depth. A full string of casing
production tubing to drill openhole, or barefoot, with a nonretrievable drillable bit (middle right) or a retrievable drilling BHA (right) provides
completions. The tubing string and the at- additional functionality and exibility. The retrievable BHA can be deployed and retrieved with
blade, or shtail, bit used for drilling remained in smaller jointed pipe, coiled tubing or wireline cable without tripping casing into and out of a well.
the well after production ow began. Permanent

46 Oileld Review
A retrievable system allows the bit and BHA
7-in. casing to be deployed initially and replaced without
to surface tripping casing into and out of the hole.8 This
option is the only practical choice for directional
Drill Lock wells because of the need to recover expensive
Assembly (DLA) BHA components, such as downhole motors,
rotary steerable systems or measurements-while-
drilling (MWD) and logging-while-drilling (LWD)
8 joints of tools. A wireline-retrievable system facilitates
7 5/8-in. casing replacement of equipment that fails before
reaching TD, and allows quick, cost-effective
Tandem internal
casing stabilizers
access to log, evaluate and test formations.
Several service providers are committed to
developing tools, techniques and equipment for
Casing shoe drilling with casing. Tesco, for example, offers
Casing Drilling services, comprising purpose-built
rigs, surface equipment and downhole tools for
Drill collar spacer onshore applications.
joint, or float sub
To facilitate the use of casing for drilling, Tesco
designed robust, reliable surface equipment and
6 1/8-in. to 8 7/8-in. downhole systems that efciently and effectively
underreamer
attach to and release from casing. A wireline-
conveyed drilling assembly is typically suspended
in a prole nipple near the bottom of a casing
string. The Tesco Casing Drilling system uses a
Tandem external
pilot-hole stabilizers Drill Lock Assembly (DLA) to anchor and seal
the BHA inside casing (left).9

1. Besson A, Burr B, Dillard S, Drake E, Ivie B, Ivie C,


Smith R and Watson G: On the Cutting Edge,
Oileld Review 12, no. 3 (Autumn 2000): 3657.
6 1/8-in. PDC pilot bit 2. Hahn D, Van Gestel W, Frhlich N and Stewart G:
Simultaneous Drill and Case TechnologyCase Histo-
ries, Status and Options for Further Development, paper
> Casing vertical drilling. The retrievable bottomhole assembly (BHA) for vertical drilling
IADC/SPE 59126, presented at the IADC/SPE Drilling
includes a small bit that drills a guide, or pilot, hole (left). An underreamer with expandable Conference, New Orleans, February 2325, 2000.
and retractable cutter pads expands this initial borehole to accept the full diameter of the 3. Sinor LA, Tybero P, Eide O and Wenande BC: Rotary
casing being used. Stabilizers between the pilot bit and the underreamer maintain borehole Liner Drilling for Depleted Reservoirs, paper IADC/
inclination. Upper stabilizers located inside the casing reduce BHA vibrations and protect SPE 39399, presented at the IADC/SPE Drilling Conference,
the Drill Lock Assembly (DLA), which provides an axial and torsional connection to the Dallas, March 36, 1998.
casing (right). The Tesco DLA seals against the casing to direct drilling uid through the bit. 4. Tessari RM and Madell G: Casing Drilling
A Revolutionary Approach to Reducing Well Costs,
It also allows uid to bypass the BHA during wireline deployment and retrieval. A positive- paper SPE/IADC 52789, presented at the SPE/IADC
displacement motor (PDM) or a rotary steerable system (RSS), heavyweight drill collars, Drilling Conference, Amsterdam, March 911, 1999.
measurements-while-drilling (MWD) systems or logging-while-drilling (LWD) tools, not 5. Shepard SF, Reiley RH and Warren TM: Casing Drilling:
shown here, can be included. The DLA is run on wireline and landed in a prole nipple An Emerging Technology, paper IADC/SPE 67731,
near the bottom of the casing. The BHA is positioned in the last casing joint so that all presented at the SPE/IADC Drilling Conference,
components below the tandem stabilizer extend into the open hole below casing. Amsterdam, February 27March 1, 2001.
6. Gordon D, Billa R, Weissman M and Hou F:
Underbalanced Drilling with Casing Evolution in the
South Texas Vicksburg, paper SPE 84173, presented at
the SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition,
A New Approach Conventional rotary bits that remain in the Denver, October 58, 2003.
Some operators now view this technology as a wellbore after reaching TD have been used in 7. Hossain MM and Amro MM: Prospects of Casing While
potential solution in a variety of commercial some applications. The bit can remain on the Drilling and the Factors to Be Considered During Drilling
Operations in Arabian Region, paper IADC/SPE 87987,
applications, ranging from drilling entire casing and be cemented in place, or it can be presented at the IADC/SPE Asia Pacic Drilling
onshore wells to drilling just one or two hole released and dropped into the bottom of the hole Technology Conference and Exhibition, Kuala Lumpur,
September 1315, 2004.
sections in offshore wells that require multiple to allow logging. Drillable drill bits, such as the 8. Warren T, Tessari R and Houtchens B: Casing Drilling
casing strings.7 Drillers categorize the downhole Weatherford Type II or Type III DrillShoe or the with Retrievable Drilling Assemblies, paper OTC 16564,
presented at the Offshore Technology Conference,
systems that are used to drill with casing as Baker Hughes EZ Case, have external cutting Houston, May 36, 2004.
nonretrievable or retrievable. A nonretrievable, structures for drilling, but can be removed by 9. Warren TM, Angman P and Houtchens B: Casing Drilling
or xed, assembly can be used to drill with short milling. These specially designed casing shoes Application Design Considerations, paper IADC/SPE
59179, presented at the IADC/SPE Drilling Conference,
liners or full casing strings. allow drilling and completion of subsequent New Orleans, February 2325, 2000.
borehole sections. Shepard et al, reference 5.
Warren T, Houtchens B and Madell G: Directional
Drilling with Casing, paper SPE/IADC 79914, presented
at the SPE/IADC Drilling Conference, Amsterdam,
February 1921, 2003.

Summer 2005 47
Each BHA component must pass through the pilot hole. A topdrive unit rotates the casing and connections. An internal spear assembly
casing string that is used for drilling, including applies torque to make tubular connections. provides a uid seal inside the pipe.
an underreamer, or hole enlarger, with The Tesco quick-connect Casing Drive Initially, drilling operations with casing were
retractable pads. A pilot bit initiates a small System, which is operated by the topdrive performed onshore in vertical wells to avoid the
hole, which then is enlarged by cutters on the hydraulic control system, speeds up pipe additional complexity of offshore operations. As a
expanded underreamer pads. Drillers commonly handling and prevents damage to casing threads result, casing vertical drilling advanced to a point
use a 618-in. or a 614-in. pilot bit and an by eliminating one cycle of making and breaking where it routinely rivaled the efficiency of
underreamer that expands to 878 in. when drilling connections at tubular joints (below).10 A slip operations with conventional drillpipe. Tesco
with 7-in. casing. The underreamer can be assembly grips either the exterior or interior of Corporation and ConocoPhillips have drilled more
located immediately above the bit outside the the casing, depending on pipe size, and attaches than 100 of these vertical wells in south Texas.
casing or above other BHA components in the the casing to the topdrive without threaded
A Proving Ground in South Texas
ConocoPhillips initiated an infill-drilling
6 5/8-in. connection program in 1997 to increase production and
to topdrive unit recovery from geopressured Wilcox sands in the
south Texas Lobo geologic trend. Operators
discovered natural gas in these low-permeability,
Hydraulic actuator
or tight, sands near the USA and Mexico border
in the 1960s, but limited well productivity, low
gas prices and inadequate pipeline capacity
made commercial development uneconomic.
From 1979 to the mid-1990s, US tax
10 ft [3 m]
incentives for tight-gas development, advances in
hydraulic fracture stimulation, new pipeline
construction and higher gas prices resulted in
the drilling of more than 1,000 wells. Since 1997,
Axial and ConocoPhillips has drilled another 900 wells,
torque grapple
ranging in depth from 7,500 to 13,000 ft [2,286 to
3,962 m], to recover additional gas reserves in
Packer cup this area.
Most of these wells were drilled in a single run
Casing stabbing
guide with conventional drillpipe and polycrystalline
> Surface equipment for casing while drilling. The Tesco Casing Drive System comprises a quick- diamond compact (PDC) fixed-cutter bits.
connect slip assembly that grips either the exterior (left) or interior (middle) of the casing, depending on Despite extensive experience in this mature area,
pipe size, and attaches the casing to the topdrive without threaded connections to prevent thread drilling efciency peaked in 2001 after about
damage. An internal spear assembly provides a uid seal inside the pipe. The Casing Drive System is 600 wells. Rig downtime represented less than
operated by a topdrive system that is suspended from the derrick block, so the entire topdrive rotary
mechanism is free to travel up and down (right). A topdrive differs radically from the more 10% of the total time to drill a Lobo well, so a new
conventional rig-oor rotary table and kelly method of turning the drillstring because it allows drilling approach was required to reduce well-
to be performed with three joints at a time instead of single joints of pipe. It also allows drillers to construction costs further.
quickly engage the rig pumps or the rotary drive while tripping pipe, which minimizes both the
In 2001, ConocoPhillips began reevaluating
frequency of stuck pipe and the cost per incident.
well-construction practices to increase drilling
efciency enough to make exploitation of smaller
Lobo reservoirs with less than 1,000 million ft3
2000 2001 [28.3 million m3] of recoverable gas economical.
This would allow development activity to
Stuck pipe
8% 4% 4% continue for several years in this highly faulted
8% 34% Well control 7% 37%
and compartmentalized geologic trend.
3%
3% Stuck pipe Lost circulation
Stuck pipe
Even though surface, intermediate and
3% production intervals could be drilled
Cementing
Lost circulation conventionally, downhole drilling problems and
Lost circulation Fluids
rig downtime near the TD of each casing section
Directional control
continued to impede performance. Lost
3%
38% Mechanical 39% 9% circulation, stuck drillpipe and inability to run
Lay down casing casing to TD were common in Lobo trend wells,
> Nonproductive, trouble time for conventionally drilled wells in the south Texas Lobo trend. Lost accounting for about 75% of trouble time in 2000
circulation and stuck pipe were found to be the major causes of trouble encountered while drilling and 2001 (left).
Lobo eld wells with conventional drillpipe. In 2000 and 2001, these two problems accounted for 72%
and 76%, respectively, of the trouble time. Well control and inability to successfully run casing to TD
also were signicant in these and other years.

48 Oileld Review
compete with conventional drilling across the
entire Lobo trend. This second phase proved that
drilling with casing mitigates formation-related rig
downtime associated with conventional operations.
Downtime on the next 11 wells drilled with
casing consisted primarily of rig mechanical and
operational-related problems; there were
virtually no incidents of stuck pipe or lost
circulation. In addition, many of the mechanical
and operational problems were reduced or
eliminated. During the rst two phases of this
program, the performance of Tesco Casing
Drilling systems steadily improved, matching the
average daily penetration rate of conventional
operations by the fifth well and eventually
1,400
exceeding it (left).
The surface-casing sections of wells in the
1,200
Lobo program were drilled with 958-in. casing
Rate of penetration (ROP), ft/day

1,000 using an 812-in. PDC pilot bit and a 1214-in.


underreamer in a retrievable BHA.
800 Conventional
drilling average ROP
ConocoPhillips drilled this interval in one run for
600 all of the wells and encountered few problems
retrieving the BHA with wireline. Actual drilling,
400 or rotating, times with casing were slightly
200 higher than conventional operations using
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16
drillpipe and a 1214-in. rotary drill bit.
0
These 500-ft [152-m] sections were
6,8

8,1
6,8

8,6
8,0

7,1

6,7

6,2

7,3

8,7

8,9

7,8

6,9

8,1

8,4

8,7

completeddrilled, cased and cementedin


80

26

20
00

78

23

05

25

20

18

97

11

73

03

50

75

Order of Lobo wells drilled using casing with total footage about the same time as conventionally drilled
> Improvements in the efciency of casing while drilling. Rate of penetration surface holes. Cement inside the 958-in. casing
improved dramatically during the course of initial vertical drilling operations with was drilled out with 7-in. casing using a 614-in.
casing in the south Texas Lobo trend. By the end of Phase 1, a ve-well pilot PDC bit and 812-in. underreamer congured to
program, the performance of casing while drilling matched that of conventional
operations with drillpipe. Well 7 included 705 ft [215 m] of hole drilled directionally
mill and clean out inside casing. After drilling
with casing and a downhole motor. Well 8 included a 902-ft [275-m] section drilled through cement inside the casing and then into a
directionally with drillpipe and heavyweight drilling collars. few feet of formation below the casing set point,
or shoe, this BHA was retrieved and replaced
with another for drilling 878-in. open hole.
In early wells, this second BHA drilled to a
depth where formations become harder, typically
During conventional drilling operations, Many well-control incidents and blowouts about 6,500 ft [1,981 m]. A third BHA drilled to
additional fluid, or mud, often had to be occur while tripping pipe. Using casing to drill the 7-in. casing point. In most cases, the bit and
circulated to recondition the borehole and helps avoid these unexpected, dangerous and underreamer had little wear at either point.
address problems such as lost circulation, potentially costly events. Drilling operations with After gaining more experience, ConocoPhillips
sloughing formations and hole collapse in casing minimize or eliminate pipe trips and leave began drilling this entire intermediate casing
pressure-depleted intervals. Gas influx at casing at the bottom of a borehole, the best section in a single run.
intermediate casing points or across productive position to circulate out an inux. This is an
zones, and stuck-pipe conditions while drilling or important advantage, especially as this 10. Warren T, Johns R and Zipse D: Improved Casing
Running Process, paper SPE/IADC 92579, presented
running casing also were problems. As a result, technique is applied in more applications under at the SPE/IADC Drilling Conference and Exhibition,
well-control incidents were a major concern. increasingly complex subsurface conditions. Amsterdam, February 2325, 2005.
11. Fontenot K, Highnote J, Warren T and Houtchens B:
ConocoPhillips identied casing while drilling as The rst phase of evaluating drilling operations Casing Drilling Activity Expands in South Texas, paper
a technology that might solve these problems and with casing involved a ve-well pilot program. SPE/IADC 79862, presented at the SPE/IADC Drilling
Conference, Amsterdam, February 1921, 2003.
improve drilling efciency.11 Beginning in late 2001 and continuing into 2002,
ConocoPhillips extended this program to
determine whether casing while drilling could

Summer 2005 49
Drill Openhole Reaming Back The initial success of this technique
with Casing Logging to Bottom reinforced the belief that drilling operations
using casing can be performed without
premature failure of tubular connections. During
Phases 1 and 2, casing with buttress threads was
used to drill surface and intermediate hole
sections. A torque ring installed in each casing
connection provided a torque stop and increased
7-in. the torque capacity of the coupling.
casing shoe Manufacturers also are developing new
casing connections that can handle higher
torque. A special coupling, designed by
Grant Prideco, was used for drilling operations
with 412-in. casing. ConocoPhillips now uses this
4 12-in. casing
coupling with 7-in. casing to drill intermediate
hole sections. Surface-casing hole sections
continue to be drilled using 958-in. casing with
buttress threads and a torque ring.
Stabilizer Casing while drilling has successfully
minimized trouble time related to lost
Wireline circulation and stuck pipe. The retrievable BHA
logging tools has been extremely reliable during running and
resetting at depths up to 9,000 ft [2,743 m].
Concerns about inclination control have been
reduced through proper BHA design.
Two nearby offset wells in the Lobo program
Bit-release illustrated the benets of drilling operations
mechanism with casing. These wells did not require logs and
were drilled within seven months of each other. A
conventional rig operating in this area for more
> Procedure for logging after drilling with casing. A technique for running
than four years drilled the rst well. The second
openhole wireline logs for formation evaluation that proved effective in
the Lobo development program was to drill to TD with 412-in. casing and well was the fteenth and, at that time, the
release the bit (left). The next step was to ream back to the 7-in. casing fastest well drilled using casing and a Tesco
shoe, so openhole logs could be run through the 412-in. casing just as Casing Drilling rig. Excluding rig repair time on
they would if the well were drilled conventionally (middle). The 412-in.
casing was then reamed back to TD (right).
both wells, the conventional well took 300 hours
from start to rig release; the well drilled with
casing took 247.5 hours, a 17.5% reduction in
drilling time (next page, top).
The penetration rate for conventional drilling
Borehole sections for production casing in valve was set at the bottom of the casing. This was slightly faster than for casing while drilling.
some of the rst wells of Phase 2 were drilled valve allowed cement to be pumped into the However, the well drilled with casing
with conventional drillpipe until procedures for borehole annulus, but prevented it from experienced only slight lost returns, and drilling
drilling with 412-in. casing were established. The backowing, or U-tubing, into the casing. The was able to continue after uid losses stopped.
production sections of subsequent wells were casing then was reamed back to TD and Total downtime resulting from lost circulation
drilled with a 614-in. PDC bit attached to the end cemented in place. was less than an hour. In contrast, the
of casing by a mechanical releasing device. This For wells that did not require openhole conventional well was plagued by uid losses
device also functioned as a near-bit stabilizer, a logging, a slickline-conveyed oat valve was set from about 6,500 ft [1,981 m] to the intermediate
spacer joint, a crossover from casing connections in order to cement the casing in place through casing point at about 9,500 ft and required an
to bit connections and a reaming shoe after the the bit. Nondrillable pump-down oat valves are additional 53 hours to deal with four lost-
bit was released (above). available for some pipe sizes, including 7-in. circulation events.
After reaching TD in wells that needed to be casing, and Tesco also has developed drillable Drilling operations with casing included only
logged for formation evaluation, the bit was pump-down oat equipment. These cementing 66 hours of nonproductive rig time at
released by dropping a ball. The 412-in. casing improvements allow casing and wellhead surface intermediate and production casing points
was backreamed and pulled up into the 7-in. connections to proceed without having to wait compared with 113.5 hours for the conventional
casing to allow openhole wireline logging. After for cement to set, which further minimizes well. Neither well encountered significant
logging, a slickline-conveyed cementing float nonproductive rig time. problems during drilling operations, so this

50 Oileld Review
0 conventional drillpipe. Implementing an
1,000 effective solution to these two problems could
Well 16 drilled using casing cut total drilling time for a 9,500-ft well to about
2,000
Offset well drilled using drillpipe 200 hours, a 33% reduction from the previous
3,000 300 hours.
Measured depth (MD), ft 4,000 In Phase 3 of this program, ConocoPhillips
mobilized three new Tesco Casing Drilling rigs
5,000
built specically to drill in the Lobo trend (bottom
Lost circulation
6,000 left). These compact units include a topdrive to
7,000
handle larger derrick loads and an automated
power catwalk system that transfers casing to the
8,000
rig oor. They also offer increased fuel efciency
9,000 and require a smaller surface pad, or footprint.
10,000 The small, mobile Casing Drilling rigs have a
0 100 200 300 depth rating of 15,000 ft [4,572 m] and were
Time, hr designed for optimal drilling operations with
> Drilling time versus depth for conventional drilling and casing while casing, but also can use conventional drillpipe.
drilling. The rate of penetration (ROP) for the conventional well (blue) was During the past ve years, ConocoPhillips has
slightly faster than for casing while drilling (red), but operations were
plagued by lost circulation from about 6,500 ft to the intermediate casing
drilled more than 350 intervals and about
point at about 9,500 ft. 1,050,000 ft [320,040 m] in 110 wells using
retrievable drilling systems for casing.
Collectively, experience in these wells conrmed
that casing while drilling could eliminate or
reduce lost circulation and other problems
associated with depleted zones.
Initially drillers expected lost circulation to
be a problem when using casing to drill because
of the increase in equivalent circulating density
Water tank (ECD). A higher ECD results from the smaller
Mud pumps
annular clearance between large casing and the
Drillers
cabin Mud tanks and borehole wall, which increases frictional
Hydraulic solids control
power units pressure losses. The exact mechanism during
Automated
casing while drilling that mitigates lost
power catwalk circulation is not clearly understood at this time,
but combined with a higher ECD, it allows lower
mud weights to be used, which may facilitate air
drilling and underbalanced drilling.
Electrical
generators During all three phases of this Lobo
development project and other applications of
Fuel and
lubrication casing while drilling, no signicant or serious lost-
storage circulation events have occurred. Even in areas
near conventionally drilled wells that previously
required multiple remedial cement plugs and
> A more compact drilling rig. Tesco Casing Drilling rigs were designed on additional unscheduled full-length liners to reach
standard oileld skids, so the entire rig can be moved in 12 loads rather than TD, there were fewer lost-circulation problems
the 23 loads required for conventional rigs. The most modern conventional and fewer incidents of stuck pipe.12
rigs used in the Lobo development area require about 33 truckloads to make
a move, with move time averaging about 2.2 days. The new rigs can be This ConocoPhillips work established the
moved with standard oileld winch trucks without the use of a crane. A rig reliability of a retrievable drilling BHA and
move requires 12 hours from release to start of the next well. hinted at potential future applications for casing
while drilling. Several operators are pursuing
applications for this technique in areas where
difference reected the relative efciency of Penetration rates also have improved with conventional drilling costs are high. In these
these two methods at the casing points. However, experience, reducing drilling time by another applications, improvements in operational
about 17 hours were lost waiting for cement to 30 hours. Tests are under way to understand the efficiency would provide an even greater
set on the well drilled with casing. As improved lower rate of penetration (ROP) with casing, economic impact.
pump-down oat devices for all casing sizes which should help drillers increase casing
became available, this cementing downtime also penetration rates to equal or exceed those of 12. Fontenot et al, reference 11.

was reduced.

Summer 2005 51
Increasing emphasis on redeveloping mature casing demonstrated the viability of casing for casing, the PDM and bent housing are placed
offshore properties in which high-angle wells directional drilling, but also highlighted the above the underreamer and pilot bit to rotate
must traverse pressure-depleted zones offers an limitations of steerable motors (below). both. This configuration allows slide drilling
excellent opportunity to drill directionally with without rotating the entire string to make
casing and realize signicant cost savings. Steerable Downhole Motors directional corrections. As a result, the BHA
However, only about 34,000 ft [10,363 m] in Drilling with casing and steerable motors in test geometry for directional control with steerable
12 well intervals have been drilled directionally wells and actual eld operations identied three motors and casing differs from a conventional
using a steerable PDM or an RSS in a retrievable limitationsBHA geometry, motor performance BHA for drillpipe (bottom left).13
BHA. These operations with 7-in. and 958-in. and operational practices. In a retrievable BHA In addition, drilling systems for casing
directional drilling must pass through the casing,
so the entire BHA and the PDM are smaller
Commercial Directional Wells Drilled with Casing
relative to the hole size. This limits the motor
Well Casing Initial Distance Maximum Build rate, Type of Type of
size, in. depth, ft drilled, ft inclination, degrees degrees/100 ft application BHA bend angle. The bent housing contact pad often
does not touch the borehole wall. Instead, a pilot-
1 9 5/8 339 2,993 4 2 Avoid collision PDM
hole stabilizer is incorporated below the
2 9 5/8 370 3,468 4 2 Avoid collision PDM
underreamer cutters to provide directional
3 7 6,000 705 8 1.5 Build angle and hold PDM
control and ensure a smooth borehole trajectory.
4 9 5/8 393 2,247 40 3 Build angle and hold PDM
Smaller motors and components also
5 9 5/8 393 3,172 17 1.5 Build angle and hold PDM increase BHA flexibility, so maintaining
6 9 5/8 492 1,968 16 1.5 Build angle and hold PDM directional control is more difcult. The entire
7 7 2,115 4,418 16 Drill tangent PDM assembly is tilted at a greater angle in the
8 9 5/8 633 2,739 17 2 Vertical and build angle PDM borehole and has a tendency to build inclination
9 7 4,434 3,427 15 2.5 S profile PDM angle, which makes dropping borehole angle
10 7 1,278 4,672 29 2.5 S profile RSS more difcult. Adding an expandable stabilizer
11 9 5/8 8,987 1,118 80 1.5 build Build angle PDM or an underreamer with noncutting stablilizer
1.5 turn and turn pads above the motor reduces rotating build
12 7 5,007 2,843 25 3 S profile RSS and rates and provides the capability of dropping
PDM
inclination angle by sliding, but this makes the
> Commercial directional wells drilled with casing. In its rst commercial application, casing BHA more complex.
directional drilling was used to drill surface holes to 3,332 ft [1,016 m] and 3,838 ft [1,170 m] with Another inefciency arises when PDM torque
958-in. casing for two offshore wellsWells 1 and 2, respectively. The most extensive commercial
reaches higher levels and the circulating
drilling using casing was conducted in Mexico, where 958-in. casing was used to kick off and build
inclination for intermediate hole sections in three wellsWells 4, 5 and 6drilled from a central pressure increases, causing the drillstring to
surface pad onshore. elongate. Because the bit is on bottom and the
casing cannot move downward, both the weight
on bit (WOB) and the required rotational motor
torque increase, further exacerbating the
increase in circulating pressure.14
Steerable Motor Assembly for Drillpipe PDC bit This effect is cyclic and causes motors to slow
Nonmagnetic drill collar MWD system Stabilizer Steerable PDM down and stop, or stall. The problem worsens
with casing, which tends to lengthen more under
internal pressure than does conventional
drillpipe. For a given internal pressure increase,
the additional WOB for 7-in. casing is about six
times greater than for 312-in. drillpipe with the
Steerable Motor Assembly for Casing PDC bit same size motor.
Underreamer
Nonmagnetic drill collar MWD system Steerable PDM In deeper wells and under conditions of high
borehole friction, increased WOB may be difcult
to detect at the surface. As a result, a PDM may
> Directional drilling geometry and control points. In a conventional directional BHA for drillpipe, stall before drillers can take corrective action.
three distinct pointsthe bit, a stabilizer pad on the motor bend and a stabilizer above the motor The consequence is that smaller, less powerful
dene the geometry for building inclination angle (top). The upper two points are noncutting, so the motors that are required for casing while drilling
geometry and stiffness of the BHA force the bit to cut along a circular path. In casing directional may have to be operated at less than optimal
drilling, three points also determine the build rate for a steerable motor, but the points are not as
torque and pressure to compensate for abrupt
dened and are more difcult to modify (bottom). The lower point is still the bit, but the second point
is not located at the motor bend. A smaller motor relative to the hole size must be used to pass WOB changes.
through the casing in a retrievable assembly. As a result, the motor bend often does not contact the The primary issue with smaller motors is a
borehole wall. Instead, a rotating, noncutting stabilizer below the underreamer cutter pads functions relative lack of power compared with larger
as the second control point. Directional control may be affected because the bit is farther away from
versions. Selection of the most appropriate motor
the upper control point.
for directional drilling is critical, particularly for

52 Oileld Review
7-in. and smaller casing sizes. Low-speed motors Vertical Plot Horizontal Plot
with more torque output in response to increased 0
pressure are easier to operate. A bit with less
400
aggressive cutting structures that do not cut as
deeply into the formation also improves motor 1,000
performance. All of these factors, however,

North-South departure, ft
300
reduce drilling efciency and penetration rates.
For casing larger than 958 in., motor power 2,000
considerations are less critical because larger
200
motors relative to hole size can be used. In some
cases, it may be advantageous to use motors
3,000
specifically designed for casing directional

True vertical depth (TVD), ft


100
drilling that provide high torque at relatively
low pumping pressure.
Recovering from motor stalls and 4,000
0
reorientating a BHA require less time with casing -300 -200 -100 0
because casing is stiffer than drillpipe. The East-West departure, ft
casing does not twist as much between the 5,000
surface and a PDM, so there is no need to
reciprocate casing to relax this stored torque.
The WOB is allowed to drill off without lowering
6,000
the casing. The BHA then is picked up slightly
and rotated to the desired orientation. If a motor
stalls, the pump rate is reduced and the string is
picked up to restart the motor, usually without 7,000

having to readjust the bend angle of the motor.


If borehole friction causes the casing to hang
up, manually or automatically rocking, or 8,000
0 1,000 2,000
rotating, the entire string forward and reverse,
Horizontal displacement, ft
without changing the BHA orientation helps
control abrupt changes in WOB when sliding.
This allows the motor to run more consistently
and improves drilling performance without
affecting directional control.15
PDM limitations and the potential benets of
using rotary steerable technology were evident in
south Texas drilling operations with casing.
ConocoPhillips drilled two wells in the Lobo
trend using a retrievable BHA with a PDM for
vertical inclination control. Two other Lobo wells > Lobo Well 83 vertical and horizontal trajectory plots. To avoid a surface obstruction, Lobo Well
were directionally drilled with casing using 83 was drilled with an S-shape trajectory. This borehole was drilled vertically to the kickoff point
steerable motors in a retrievable BHA. at 4,434 ft before building inclination angle to about 15 and then dropping back to a near-
vertical inclination after achieving about 500 ft of lateral displacement.
Lobo Well 83 included an interval that was
directionally drilled with 7-in. casing because of
a surface obstruction. The planned S-shape
trajectory called for building inclination to about
15 and then dropping angle back to near 13. Warren T and Lesso B: Casing Directional Drilling, at the SPE/IADC Drilling Conference and Exhibition,
paper AADE-05-NTCE-48, presented at the American Amsterdam, February 2325, 2005.
vertical after achieving sufficient lateral Association of Drilling Engineers (AADE) National Plcido JCR, Medeiros F, Lucena H, Medeiros JCM,
displacement to reach the subsurface target Technical Conference and Exhibition, Houston, Costa VASR, Silva PRC, Gravina CC, Alves R and
April 57, 2005.
(above right).16 Warren T: Casing DrillingExperience in Brazil,
Warren T and Lesso B: Casing Drilling Directional paper OTC 17141, presented at the Offshore Technology
This well was drilled vertically to the kickoff Wells, paper OTC 17453, presented at the Offshore Conference, Houston, May 25, 2005.
point at 4,434 ft [1,351 m], where the straight Technology Conference, Houston, May 25, 2005. 16. Strickler R, Mushovic T, Warren T and Lesso B: Casing
14. Warren et al, 2000, reference 9. Directional Drilling Using a Rotary Steerable System,
drilling assembly was retrieved by wireline and paper SPE/IADC 92195, presented at the SPE/IADC
15. Maidla E, Haci M, Jones S, Cluchey M, Alexander M and
replaced with a directional BHA that included a Warren T: Field Proof of the New Sliding Technology for Drilling Conference and Exhibition, Amsterdam,
Directional Drilling, paper SPE/IADC 92558, presented February 2325, 2005.
434-in. PDM. Drilling operations required
intermittent slide drilling from the kickoff point
to 4,808 ft [1,465 m] to build angle and establish
the desired direction.

Summer 2005 53
The 434-in. steerable motor ran for only 154 ft
[47 m] before being replaced with a 512-in. motor
7-in. casing
to surface that generated higher torque at lower pressures
Vibration-
monitoring device and speeds (left).
When borehole angle reached about 10, the
Drill Lock well was drilled in rotating mode, which
Assembly (DLA)
increased the inclination angle to 15. The
borehole inclination could be increased easily,
but dropping angle required continuous sliding.
Slide drilling was reinitiated at 5,634 ft [1,717 m]
to return the trajectory closer to vertical. Even
MWD system
Tandem internal after switching to the larger PDM, a signicant
casing stabilizers number of stalls occurred, which required that
the motor be run at lower speeds and torque
loads during sliding (bottom left).
Casing shoe Drill collar spacer joint,
or float sub
Recovering from stalls while drilling with
casing was quicker than with drillpipe. The casing
was sufciently stiff, so reorientation was not
required. The bit was simply picked up to restart
the motor and then worked back to bottom to
continue drilling. Slide drilling without full string
rotation signicantly reduced the ROP, conrming
Nonmagnetic
drill collar PDM limitations reported in other wells.17
4 3/4-in. or 5 1/2-in. steerable
motor with 1.5 After the borehole inclination reached 10
bent housing again, the steerable motor assembly was pulled
and replaced with a rotary BHA. This pendulum
BHA was configured with the underreamer
immediately outside the casing and the
6 1/4-in. to 8 7/8-in.
underreamer directional control portion in the pilot hole.
Drilling with this assembly decreased the
6 1/4-in. PDC pilot bit
borehole angle from 10 to less than 2 of
inclination, which was maintained until the
> Lobo Well 83 retrievable BHA for a steerable downhole motor. The BHA assembly was pulled at 7,861 ft [2,396 m]
for drilling a directional interval with 7-in. casing in Lobo Well 83 included (next page).
tandem stabilizers inside the casing to reduce vibrations and wear on the The ROP was substantially higher while
DLA, a nonmagnetic drill collar, a vibration monitor, an MWD system, a
rotary drilling, even when limiting the WOB to
spacer, or oat, joint and a 434-in. motor with a 1.5 bent housing. The
assembly ended in an underreamer that opens up to 878 in. and a 614-in. ensure that borehole inclination decreased as
polycrystalline diamond compact (PDC) pilot bit. desired. A downhole vibration-monitoring device
recorded high lateral vibration while drilling
with this assembly, but relatively few motor stalls
occurred while drilling in rotary mode, and the
ROP improved signicantly.
2,400 The directional performance of this rotary
Motor stalls
2,200 assembly conrmed that borehole inclination
Pump pressure, psi

could be controlled in a small pilot hole even


2,000
with the underrreamer at a considerable
1,800
distance above the active portion of the BHA.
1,600 This test established confidence that RSS
1,400 technology could be used to drill with casing.
Unloaded motor pressure Currently, however, there are no RSS tools that
1,200
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 can work above an underreamer.
Time, hr
> Lobo Well 83 downhole motor performance. Slide drilling without full string rotation resulted in
frequent stalls during casing directional drilling with a steerable motor in Lobo Well 83.

54 Oileld Review
y
Directional operations with casing and a
7-in. casing steerable PDM, especially in smaller hole sizes,
to surface are not efcient. It is easier to build inclination
6,000
than to drop angle with a smaller motor and
6,200 BHA. Even with drillpipe, orienting a PDM for a
Drill Lock directional correction can take several hours at
t
Assembly (DLA) 0 0f depths of 25,000 ft [7,620 m] or more. In addition
6,400 / 1
1.7 to numerous stalls, the ROP generally decreases

Measured depth (MD), ft


6,600 when using motors.
Using a steerable PDM demonstrated that it
6,800 is possible to drill directional wells with casing,
Tandem internal but drilling efciency during these trials was not
casing stabilizers 7,000
competitive with newer rotary steerable
technology, which now is used in about 60% of
7,200
directional wells drilled offshore.
7,400
Rotary Steerable Systems
7,600
Success in reducing lost circulation during the
Lobo drilling program sparked interest in
6 1/4-in. to 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 applying casing while drilling offshore, where
8 7/8-in. Wellbore inclination, degrees
underreamer
directional wells are a necessity. However, the
limitations of drilling directionally with casing
Stabilizer and steerable motors posed a problem. Rotary
steerable technology, developed to drill
directional, high-angle, horizontal and extended-
reach wells, appeared to be a viable alternative.
Nonmagnetic In many situations, rotary drilling with a RSS
drill collar is more efcient than using a downhole motor,
even for vertical, straight-hole applications.
Directional drilling with RSS technology
Stabilizer
eliminates orientation without rotation, or slide
drilling, making it possible to drill record-
Active
directional breaking distances, such as the extended-reach
control wells in Wytch Farm eld, UK, that are difcult
to drill with downhole motors.18
As RSS systems became more durable and
more reliable, they were deployed under
MWD system increasingly demanding conditions offshore.
Initially, RSS tools were applied primarily in
deepwater wells. However, as RSS efficiency
improved and their performance became better
known, costs decreased and companies
6 1/4-in. PDC pilot bit converted from steerable motors to RSS
technology for directional operations, especially
> Lobo Well 83 pendulum assembly and rotary drilling performance. After in the North Sea and the Gulf of Mexico.
reducing the inclination angle of Well 83 from 15 back to 10, the steerable
motor assembly was replaced by a pendulum assembly (left). This second BHA 17. Warren T, Tessari R and Houtchens B: Directional
with two stabilizers between the pilot bit and the underreamer, which was Casing while Drilling, paper WOCD-0430-01, presented
at the World Oil Casing Drilling Technical Conference,
positioned immediately below the casing, completed the drop in borehole Houston, March 3031, 2004.
angle back to near vertical. With the directional-control, or active, portion of 18. Meader T, Allen F and Riley G: To the Limit and
the BHA in the pilot hole, the driller was able to decrease the inclination angle BeyondThe Secret of World-Class Extended-Reach
from 10 to less than 2 (right). This directional performance conrmed that Drilling Performance at Wytch Farm, paper IADC/
well inclination could be controlled in the pilot hole while the underreamer SPE 59204, presented at the IADC/SPE Drilling Conference
enlarged the main hole at a considerable distance above the active part of the and Exhibition, New Orleans, February 2325, 2000.
BHA. In addition, the ROP increased signicantly while drilling in rotary mode
with this assembly.

Summer 2005 55
Control unit

Plan View of Actuators


Bias unit

Actuators

Actuator
Applied
Directional force
correction

PDC bit

Drilling
tendency
> Rotary steerable technology. A rotary steerable system (RSS) applies force against the borehole
wall during full rotation of the entire drillstring to achieve a desired borehole trajectory. The
PowerDrive Xtra system, for example, comprises a control unit that houses electronics and
sensors (right). Based on commands from the control unit, the bias unit sequentially actuates
three external pads, which apply force against the borehole wall at the appropriate point during
each rotation to direct the bit in the required direction (bottom left). In vertical mode, this RSS tool
senses deviation away from vertical and automatically thrusts the bit back to vertical. Several
PowerDrive systems are available for drilling 412- to 1814-in. holes.

A rotary steerable system is ideal for applies force in a controlled direction while the operates in neutral mode, with each pad
directional control in the retrievable BHA used entire drillstring is rotated from the surface. The extending sequentially to effectively push in all
for drilling operations with casing. It minimizes control unit, positioned behind the bias unit, directions and cancel each other.
or eliminates many of the problems associated contains self-powered electronics, sensors and a During 2004, the Upstream Technology and
with slide drilling, PDM performance limitations mechanism that applies a lateral force in the Lower 48 Exploration and Production groups at
and directional control difficulties, while specied direction required to achieve a desired ConocoPhillips began evaluating the feasibility of
providing a smooth borehole that reduces torque. trajectory. The bias unit has three external, using RSS tools in the pilot hole below the
Compact and mechanically uncomplicated RSS hinged pads activated by controlled mud ow. underreamer for drilling operations with casing.20
tools are available for use in casing while A three-way rotary disk valve sequentially This project represented the rst use of RSS
drilling (above).19 diverts mud into the piston chamber of each pad technology for casing directional drilling. The
PowerDrive systems incorporate a bias unit as it rotates into proper alignment to apply force challenge, however, was that there was little
and a control unit in a 12.5-ft [3.8-m] housing. in the direction opposite a desired trajectory. The overlap in logistics and methodologies for merging
The bias unit, located directly above the bit, bit is constantly moved in one direction. If a casing while drilling with RSS technology.
change in direction is not required, the system

56 Oileld Review
Total length 94 ft [29 m]
Extension length 67 ft [20 m]
Weight in 5,200 lbm
drilling fluid [2,359 kg]

Tandem external
7-in. casing pilot-hole stabilizers
to surface

Drill Lock
Assembly (DLA)

8 joints of
7 5/8-in. casing

Tandem internal
casing stabilizers Drill collar

Casing shoe

Fluid filter

Drill collar spacer


joint, or float sub
> Lobo Well 89 retrievable BHA for vertical incli-
nation control. Vertical drilling operations with
7-in. casing required a RSS assembly with tandem 4 3/4-in. PowerDrive Xtra
6 1/8-in. to 8 7/8-in.
stabilizers inside the casing to dampen drilling underreamer 475 RSS
vibrations and to reduce wear and tear on the
DLA. A drill collar, or spacer sub, positioned the
underreamer outside the casing. External 6116-in.
stabilizers below the underreamer reduced
drilling vibrations in the pilot hole. A PowerDrive
Xtra RSS with a PDC bit completed the BHA.
6 1/8-in. PDC pilot bit

ConocoPhillips, Tesco and Schlumberger A review of 7-in. casing designs for drilling
conducted a two-well RSS test in the south Texas vertical wells found that running heavyweight 19. Kuyken C: Rotary Steerable Technology: Pushing the
Limit, Oileld Review 16, no. 4 (Winter 2004): 1.
Lobo trend using PowerDrive technology. The 758-in. integral flush-joint casing without Copercini P, Soliman F, Gamal ME, Longstreet W, Rodd J,
rst RSS test with casing was conducted in a centralizers as the bottom eight joints reduced Sarssam M, McCourt I, Persad B and Williams M:
Powering Up to Drill Down, Oileld Review 16,
vertical well. The second well was drilled drilling vibrations and fatigue failures. In no. 4 (Winter 2004): 49.
directionally with casing and a RSS. addition, engineers found that connections with Brusco G, Lewis P and Williams M: Drilling Straight
a beveled lower edge also reduced casing Down, Oileld Review 16, no. 3 (Autumn 2004): 1417.
Williams M: Better Turns for Rotary Steerable Drilling,
Rotary Steerable Vertical Test vibration and wear. Oileld Review 16, no. 1 (Spring 2004): 49.
In June 2004, ConocoPhillips, Schlumberger and After the surface casing was cemented in Downton G, Hendricks A, Klausen TS and Patis D:
Tesco performed the vertical RSS drilling test with place, a 434-in. PowerDrive Xtra 475 RSS New Directions in Rotary Steerable Drilling, Oileld
Review 12, no. 1 (Spring 2000): 1829.
casing in Well 89, located about 30 miles [48 km] programmed to maintain a vertical borehole and 20. Strickler et al, reference 16.
northeast of Laredo, Texas. The vertical section a 434-in. drill collar were added to the standard
for surface casing was drilled to 588 ft [179 m] BHA for 7-in. casing (above). This retrievable
using 958-in. casing and a retrievable BHA with an
812-in. pilot bit and a 1214-in. underreamer.

Summer 2005 57
BHA drilled to 4,821 ft [1,469 m] in 105 hours. ConocoPhillips switch back to drilling with The initial well plan called for building
Single-shot surveys taken every 500 ft indicated a drillpipe and a conventional BHA at considerable inclination angle to 29 and then dropping
near-vertical borehole inclination. Drilling additional expense. This dictated careful design, vertically into the target.
proceeded without problems, but engineers planning and implementation of the second test Unfortunately, wellhead and surface facilities
attributed higher than expected vibrations to the to fully evaluate casing directional drilling with for Well 79 were located between the remaining
long BHA extension. a RSS. open space for a rig and the subsurface target of
This run terminated at a planned Well 91. A new trajectory was designed to avoid
underreamer replacement. Drilling operations Rotary Steerable Directional Test colliding with the existing wellbore. This prole
continued to the 7-in. casing point at 7,620 ft Most wells in the Lobo development area are resembled well trajectories common on
[2,323 m]. ConocoPhillips retrieved the BHA, vertical. In late 2004, however, Well 91 presented multiwell offshore platforms (below right).
which was inspected and found to be in good a unique opportunity. The proposed location was Another factor complicated drilling
condition, and extracted operational data from about 1,200 ft [366 m] south of Well 79, a vertical operations. Well specications called for surface
the RSS tool. A multishot gyroscope run well that had been drilled with casing in March casing to be set at 1,270 ft [387 m]. The 958-in.
confirmed that the PowerDrive tool could 2004. The ConocoPhillips teams proposed using casing point for Lobo wells varies between 550
maintain verticality (below left). the existing surface location of Well 79 to and 2,400 ft [168 and 732 m], but experience
The vertical test conrmed RSS functionality directionally drill an S-shape trajectory with indicates that wells with deeper surface casing
and directional performance in a retrievable casing to reach the subsurface target for Well 91. have more problems with casing vibration and bit
assembly, and led to approval for a second test. This plan avoided building another location, instability, or whirl, during drilling of the 7-in.
In the next well, a more advanced BHA with an but the expense of directional operations was casing section because of casing-on-casing
MWD system and full directional capabilities more than three times the cost of a new rig pad. friction inside longer surface sections.
would be used to follow a planned trajectory. ConocoPhillips planned no other directional Adding a straight PDM above the
Inability to drill directionally or encountering wells for 2004, so this was the best option for underreamer addressed this problem, but
significant problems would require that testing casing directional drilling with a RSS. represented a significant change from the

0
Vertical Plot Horizontal Plot
0 200
1,000 RSS bias unit Surface
did not stabilize location
Total depth (TD)
Well 79 0
1,000
RSS vertical test
2,000
Well 79
-200
2,000
True vertical depth (TVD), ft

North-South departure, ft

3,000
True vertical depth (TVD), ft

Surface
location
-400
3,000
4,000

-600
4,000
5,000
RSS bias unit Well 91
fully operational -800
5,000 Well 91
6,000

-1,000
TD
7,000 6,000
Target
7-in. casing -1,200
section TD -600 -400 -200 0 200
8,000 7,000
0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 0 1,000 2,000 East-West departure, ft
Wellbore inclination, degrees Horizontal displacement, ft
> Gyroscope survey for the 7-in. casing section in > Lobo Well 91 vertical and horizontal trajectory plots. To avoid risk of a
Lobo Well 89. Inclination data from Lobo Well 89 collision with Well 79, the horizontal trajectory of Well 91 started off along
indicated that the 434-in. PowerDrive Xtra 475 an azimuth 40 east of the target azimuth before beginning a 100 right turn
control unit did not stabilize on a gravity to the southwest (right). The vertical trajectory built inclination angle to
reference until the bit reached 3,710 ft [1,131 m]. 29 (left). During later stages of the horizontal turn, drillers initiated a drop
The well drifted to an inclination angle of 2.25 at in angle to bring the borehole into the target at a near-vertical inclination.
3,600 ft [1,097 m]. The RSS regained full function This prole resembled those used on large offshore platforms with multiple
and directional control from 3,710 to 4,821 ft. At drilling slots.
3,800 ft [1,158 m], the borehole trajectory returned
to a near-vertical inclination of 0.25 for the
remainder of the RSS vertical test. There was a
slight tendency to build angle from about 2,000 ft
[607 m] to 3,800 ft when the RSS tool was not
effective and again after the test ended at 4,821 ft.

58 Oileld Review
< Lobo Well 91 retrievable BHA for rotary direc-
Total length 112 ft [34 m]
tional drilling. Directional operations with 7-in.
Extension length 85 ft [26 m] casing and a RSS required several innovative
Weight in 6,200 lbm BHA components. Tandem stabilizers inside the
drilling fluid [2,812 kg] casing dampened drilling vibrations and helped
protect the DLA. A straight 6-in. PDM served as a
spacer sub and added rotation to the BHA and bit
so that surface rotation of the drillstring could be
Tandem external decreased when dealing with high drilling vibra-
7-in. casing pilot-hole stabilizers tions. A jet nozzle below the underreamer
to surface diverted 20% of the drilling uid from the bit to
balance ow between the 618-in. pilot hole and
the 878-in. main borehole. External 6116-in. stabiliz-
ers in the pilot hole below the jet nozzle reduced
Drill Lock vibration and wear on the underreamer. A slim
Assembly (DLA) MWD system and a PowerDrive Xtra RSS with a
PDC bit completed the BHA.

8 joints of
7 5/8-in. casing

MWD system
Tandem internal
casing stabilizers

Casing shoe
Fluid filter

6-in. straight
PDM

4 3/4-in. PowerDrive Xtra


475 RSS
6 1/8-in. to 8 7/8-in.
underreamer

Jet nozzle

6 1/8-in. PDC pilot bit

vertical test in Well 89. The purpose of this motor drillpipe, typically 120 to 180 rpm. The motor between the pilot hole and the expanded
was to allow reduced surface rotation of the added rotation back into the BHA and bit to borehole. Tandem 6116-in. external stabilizers
drillstring when dealing with excessive maintain an adequate ROP. For example, were positioned below the jet nozzle to reduce
vibrations. The motor also protected the drilling if bit whirl limits surface rotation to 50 rpm, the vibration and wear on the underreamer. A
string and BHA by acting as a shock absorber. motor adds 100 rpm to reestablish optimal PowerDrive Xtra 475 RSS and a 618-in. PDC bit
However, the MWD system had to be run below bit performance. were installed below the MWD system.21
the motor, so the MWD signal had to travel up The underreamer, which opened the 618-in. 21. Downton GC and Carrington D: Rotary Steerable Drilling
through the motor. This was technically feasible, pilot hole to 878 in., was placed directly below the System for the 6-in Hole, paper SPE/IADC 79922,
presented at the SPE/IADC Drilling Conference,
but had never been done (above). mud motor. A jet nozzle diverted 20% of the Amsterdam, February 1921, 2003.
Casing directional drilling requires bit drilling fluid from the bit to balance flow
rotational speeds that are similar to drilling with

Summer 2005 59
Drilling operations with 7-in. casing began at Using casing for drilling improves operational and casing to a directional target. Schlumberger
1,278 ft [390 m]. A four-blade PDC bit with 34-in. efciency by eliminating pipe trips and reducing is currently conducting eld trials of a 314-in.
cutters was used to drill this section, the same unexpected difficulties encountered when ultraslim RSS for drilling with 6-in., 512-in. or
type of bit used in other Lobo wells. Surveys running casing in a separate operation. 5-in. casing.
indicated that the borehole was nearly vertical. ConocoPhillips experience in Well 91 proved that Acquiring well logs for formation evaluation
The MWD system located below mud motors RSS technology is effective for casing directional is a key consideration when evaluating casing
maintained reliable data transmission. However, drilling in smaller 812 to 978-in. hole sizes where while drilling. Because casing remains in the
surveys had to be taken during quiet periods PDM performance is limited (next page). wellbore after reaching TD, operators must
when rig pumps were off and there was no motor Bit selection issues common in directional identify the best methods for logging these wells
rotation, instead of when the pumps rst came drilling with conventional drillpipe and a RSS to take full advantage of casing while drilling and
back on after a casing connection, which is must be addressed to drill directionally with its capabilities to reduce nonproductive rig time.
common practice. Signal attenuation of MWD casing. Bits are chosen based on their side- Currently, there are four options: run
telemetry through the motor was only 40 to 50% cutting capability for directional control and conventional openhole wireline logs, run memory
instead of the expected 90%. their stability to reduce excessive vibrations. Bit logging tools in a retrievable BHA, run an LWD
After the kickoff depth of 2,100 ft [640 m] was hydraulics and BHA nozzles also have to be system in the drilling BHA, or run new wireline
reached, the build section was completed as balanced so that uid ow rates in both the pilot logging systems that acquire measurements
planned. The initial run continued to 4,067 ft hole and the full-gauge borehole remain within behind pipe.
[1,240 m], where pressure spikes indicated a optimal ranges for effective bit and hole To run openhole or memory logs, the casing
problem, so the BHA was retrieved by wireline. cleaning, and for operating MWD systems and must be pulled into the previously cemented
The motor had locked up and there was a PDM or RSS tools. casing. The casing has to be pulled above the
washout, or hole, in the RSS tool, but it was still If the borehole surface is irregular or rough zones of interest, but does not have to be tripped
operational. A PDM was not rerun. The bias unit and the well path is tortuous, casing stiffness can completely out of the well. If a kick occurs during
of the RSS was replaced and drilling continued. contribute to higher torque. Lateral and logging, it can be circulated out down to the top
Drilling was slower, and it was difcult to keep torsional forces are higher than with drillpipe of the openhole section. However, if the borehole
surface rotation above 60 rpm without the motor. because larger tubulars weigh more and have a collapses, it may not be possible to acquire a log
This second run ended when a replacement greater rotating diameter. Casing string designs across the entire interval.
motor arrived on location. The motor was added for drilling directional wells require more Memory logs are acquired as the casing is
back for the third run, restoring the BHA to the centralization than in vertical wells. pulled back into the preceding casing string by
initial design conguration. Drilling proceeded for In addition, casing centralization plays an deploying logging tools in a retrievable BHA after
200 ft [61 m] before the ROP dropped signicantly. important role in effective hole cleaning, and in retrieving the drilling assembly. This approach
When the BHA was pulled, drillers found that the reducing drillstring vibrations and incidents of ensures that the entire openhole section can be
small stabilizer under the underrreamer cutter pipe sticking. Hole cleaning and differential logged and evaluated. Continuous fluid
pads was larger than the bit, 614 in. instead of 618 in. sticking increase in directional wells with higher circulation keeps logging tools cool and reduces
This oversized stabilizer worked until harder inclination angles. Care must be taken to avoid the chance of a kick during logging.
formations were encountered. long periods of time when either the casing or LWD tools have been used in vertical wells
The underreamer was replaced, and drilling the BHA is stationary without uid circulation. during drilling operations with casing,
continued without incident until reaching 5,420 ft Casing while drilling, and to a greater extent eliminating the need to pull casing before
[1,652 m], where the casing became differentially casing directional drilling, are still in early stages logging. However, the addition of LWD tools to a
stuck. Directionally, the build and turn sections of development. Procedures and practices will be retrievable BHA adds cost, weight and length,
were completed, and the drop back to vertical optimized as operator experience with these new which must be balanced against wireline
was under way. Drilling continued to 6,360 ft technologies increases. retrieval risks and vibration problems in longer
[1,939 m]. The two instances of nonproductive BHA extensions.
time in directional Well 91, an oversize stabilizer An Expanding Range of Applications New technology now makes logging behind
and stuck pipe, added about 85 hours to the total Operators in the USA and Canada have drilled casing possible. Schlumberger ABC Analysis
drilling time. commercial vertical wells with casing sizes ranging Behind Casing services are a cost-effective
The borehole was now at a 4 inclination from 412 in. to 1338 in. The deepest well drilled to alternative to openhole, memory or LWD
angle. A pressure drop indicated a washout in the date was just over 13,000 ft [3,959 m]. Directional formation evaluation, allowing operators to
BHA. Surface inspection revealed a washout in wells have been drilled with casing and steerable minimize nonproductive rig time by assessing
the connection between the jet nozzle and the motors, but success is difcult to achieve in hole potentially productive intervals after reaching
external tandem stabilizer. The jet nozzle was sizes of less than 812 in. because a smaller PDM TD without pulling or manipulating the casing. In
removed from the BHA and drilling continued to supplies suboptimal torque for drilling. addition to acquiring resistivity, porosity, sonic,
TD at 6,950 ft [2,118 m]. Experience gained from vertical and bulk density, lithology, pulsed neutron and
directional testing of rotary steerable technology reservoir pressure measurements behind
while drilling with casing proved that a 434-in. cemented pipe, ABC services also include
RSS can effectively drill 812-in. holes with 7-in. sampling of formation uids.22
casing. Directional control in the pilot hole is
sufcient to guide larger diameter underreamers

60 Oileld Review
0

9 5/8-in. surface casing TD


1,000

2,000 Rotary drill


to kickoff point

3,000
Measured depth (MD), ft

Kickoff point

4,000 Replace 4 3/4-in. PDM with 5 1/2-in. PDM

5,000 Drop angle Replace steerable


PDM with
rotary BHA
Well 79
Well 91
6,000

Well 83
7,000
7-in. production casing TD

8,000
0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20
Time, days
> Drilling time versus depth for Lobo Well 91, Well 79 and Well 83. Directional Well 91 (blue) and nearby vertical
Well 79 (red) were comparable over about 4,500 ft [1,372 m]. A total of 132 casing joints were used to drill
directionally in Well 91 compared with 128 joints for vertical Well 79. The ROP on a joint-by-joint basis for the
directional well was only about 10% less than the ROP in the vertical well. The trajectory was more complex in
Well 91, but drilling with casing and a RSS saved a substantial amount of time compared with Well 83 (black),
which was drilled using casing and a steerable PDM.

The capability of drilling directional wells There are several potential applications that In the future, this technique may be used to
makes casing while drilling attractive for require additional advances in equipment and drill high-pressure, high-temperature (HPHT)
offshore applications in areas prone to lost techniques. Research and development are and geothermal wells. The combination of casing
circulation and previously uneconomic to drill under way to allow underbalanced drilling using while drilling and expandable tubulars ultimately
using conventional processes and techniques. casing and drilling with air. An obvious advantage may provide a unique well-construction solution,
Modications of current systems are under way of using casing for air and underbalanced drilling but additional hurdles must be overcome for this
to allow casing while drilling in deepwater is that wells do not have to be balanced with to be practical. As casing directional drilling
applications. Most deepwater casing strings are heavier mud, or killed, to trip drillpipe out of becomes more common, market pressures will
set as liners. Several strategies are under the hole. likely stimulate the development of additional
development to apply retrievable BHA systems and technologies specically for use in
experience to liner drilling. casing-while-drilling applications. MET

22. Aulia K, Poernomo B, Richmond WC, Wicaksono AH, Bellman K, Bittner S, Gupta A, Cameron D, Miller B,
Bguin P, Benimeli D, Dubourg I, Rouault G, VanderWal P, Cervantes E, Fondyga A, Jaramillo D, Pacha V, Hunter T,
Boyd A, Farag S, Ferraris P, McDougall A, Rosa M Salsman A, Kelder O, Orozco R and Spagrud T:
and Sharbak D: Resistivity Behind Casing, Evaluating and Monitoring Reservoirs Behind Casing,
Oileld Review 13, no. 1 (Spring 2001): 225. Oileld Review 15, no. 2 (Summer 2003): 29.

Summer 2005 61
Contributors

Azhar Ali is based in Kerteh, Malaysia, as PETRONAS Curtis Boney is Business Development Manager for Kyle R. Fontenot is Operations Manager for
Carigali Sdn Bhd (PCSB) Well Services Engineer. His Schlumberger Well Production Services and Coiled ConocoPhillips in Venezuela. He earned BS and MS
responsibilities include implementing, monitoring and Tubing Services in the North and South America degrees in petroleum engineering from Louisiana
supervising the execution of well data acquisition, well (NSA) GeoMarket* region. Based in Sugar Land, State University and has 18 years of drilling experience
integrity implementation and rectication programs, Texas, USA, he supports coiled tubing and stimulation with BP and ConocoPhillips in Gulf of Mexico, New
and production enhancement activities. He is charged solutions for NSA clients. Curtis joined the company, Zealand, Venezuela, Indonesia, Norway, North Sea and
with protecting wells from operational hazards and then Dowell, in 1974 as a service sales engineer, Texas operations. Kyle has worked as a supervisor and
enabling prolonged, continuous and safe production. supervising stimulation and cementing jobs. Since site engineer on land, platform, jackup, posted barge,
Prior to joining PCSB in 2001, Azhar worked with BJ then, he has worked in many cementing and stimulation submersible, semisubmersible, deepwater drillship
Services as assistant cementer in the ExxonMobil eld technical support and management positions through- and casing-drilling rigs. Previously, he was lead engi-
at Kerteh. He is a graduate of the University of out Texas and New Mexico, USA. He earned a BS neer for the Deepwater Technology Drilling Team and
Technology Malaysia in Johor Bahru, with a degree degree in agricultural engineering from Texas Tech well operations coordinator for the South Texas
(Hons) in petroleum engineering. University in Lubbock. Business Unit.
Dan Barson is Senior Geological Specialist for Rod Christensen, Vice President, Exploration, for Chris Fredd, North and South America (NSA)
OILEXCO Inc. in Calgary. His responsibilities include OILEXCO Inc., in Calgary, is currently developing a Stimulation Products Manager for Schlumberger
hydrodynamic and capillary pressure analysis, pay drilling portfolio concentrated in the North Sea, with in Sugar Land, Texas, provides technical support for
mapping and prospect evaluation. Before joining several exploration drilling prospects scheduled in eld operations and clients and manages the NSA
OILEXCO in 2005, he spent two years as an indepen- 2005. He is also working on drilling plans for three Stimulation Client Support Laboratory. He focuses on
dent consultant for Earth Science Consulting Inc., horizontal wells in the Brenda pool. Since 1993, he solving client-related problems, addressing competitive
working on exploration geology and acquisition and served as president of Cuesta Energy Inc., where he issues, evaluating and introducing new technology and
divestiture projects in the Gulf of Mexico and the provided consulting and geological services to various supporting service quality standards. He is also respon-
North Sea. Prior to that he spent 10 years with a petroleum companies before joining OILEXCO in 2005. sible for providing technical training to laboratory and
Calgary-based consultancy, developing a hydrodynamic Rod has been credited with discoveries including the eld personnel. Chris joined Schlumberger as a staff
oil-migration modeling program, and applying it to Kisbey eld, the Heward eld, the North Browning engineer in 1997, working on improved cleanup of frac-
projects in Canada, South America, North Africa and eld, the Carlyle North pool and the Steppe/North turing uids and evaluation of acidizing technology. He
the North Sea. Dan holds a BS degree from Kings Manor pool during his 26-year career. He has a BA later worked as an area laboratory manager for district
College, University of London, and a PhD degree from degree in zoology and a BS degree in geological sciences laboratories in south Texas. He obtained a BS degree
the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada, both from the University of Washington in Seattle, USA. from Clarkson University, Potsdam, New York, USA, and
in geology. Eric Decoster obtained an engineering degree at MS and PhD degrees from University of Michigan in
Craig H. Bivins has served as President of Bivins Ecole Centrale in Paris and an MS degree in civil engi- Ann Arbor, USA, all in chemical engineering.
Energy Corporation, Dallas, since 1980, and is cur- neering at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA. Tim Gorham is a Petroleum Engineer for Chevron
rently engaged in the assembly, management and He joined Schlumberger as a eld engineer in the North America Exploration and Production based in
operation of exploratory and development programs Middle East in 1978. In 1996, after assignments in McKittrick, California, USA. He is currently a production
and prospects located primarily in the East Texas log interpretation and marketing in various locations engineer for the Cymric Technical Team. Tim has
basin. These projects include a large Jurassic, Cotton around the world, Eric became principal petrophysicist worked in the San Joaquin Valley primarily in produc-
Valley Sand gas development program in Harrison for the Venezuela-Trinidad area, based in Caracas. tion, completion and stimulation of light oil and gas.
County, a Lower Cretaceous, Rodessa/Pettit oil and gas In this role, he oversees petrophysical support for all He holds BS and MS degrees in petroleum engineering
exploratory program located on the Chandler Ridge Schlumberger wireline services, focusing primarily from New Mexico Tech in Socorro.
Turtle structure in Henderson and Smith Counties and on nuclear magnetic resonance, spectroscopy and Jim Grau works at Schlumberger-Doll Research,
a Jurassic, Bossier Sand gas development program in resistivity logging. Ridgeeld, Connecticut, USA, on the various problems
Freestone and Navarro Counties. In addition, Craig John Engels, who is based in Houston, is a Schlumberger of extracting information from gamma ray spectrometry
has also participated in projects in West Texas, New Senior Stimulation Technical Representative for logging tools. He joined Schlumberger in 1977 after
Mexico, Oklahoma, Louisiana and the Texas Gulf Anadarko Petroleum, The Woodlands, Texas. He works receiving a BS degree in engineering physics from the
Coast. He holds a BBA degree in nance, marketing with all Anadarko asset and production engineering University of Toledo, Ohio, USA, and MS and PhD
and real estate from Southern Methodist University teams on stimulation concerns and sales. He joined degrees in low-energy nuclear physics from Purdue
in Dallas. the company in 1996 as a eld engineer specializing in University, West Lafayette, Indiana, USA.
Curtis G. Blount is a Well Supervisor and Adviser fracturing operations in Hassi Messaoud, Algeria. He Udit Kumar Guru works as the Schlumberger
specializing in remedial well interventions, and is remained there as district technical fracturing engi- Petrophysics Domain Champion for the East Africa
also a Coiled Tubing (CT) Technology Adviser for neer until transferring to Houston as product champion and East Mediterranean GeoMarket region. Based in
ConocoPhillips Alaska Inc. in Anchorage. He has been for fracturing uids in 2000. Before assuming his Cairo, he supports petrophysical interpretation needs
active in CT research and applied technology develop- current position in 2004, he worked in Sugar Land, and introduces new technologies for clients. Before
ment for more than 20 years. Curtis has coauthored Texas, as technical support engineering director and moving to Cairo, he was domain champion for the
more than 30 technical papers and holds 20 patents. senior stimulation support engineer. John holds a BS India GeoMarket region, supporting interpretation for
He served as an SPE distinguished lecturer on CT degree in civil engineering from the University of deepwater operations. Udit earned an MS degree in
drilling technology, cochaired the rst SPE forum South Florida, Tampa, USA. exploration geophysics from the Indian Institute of
on CT technology, twice cochaired the SPE/ICoTA Eugene O. Fielder, who works for Devon Energy, is Technology, Kharagpur. He then spent 15 years as a
Roundtable and presented the SPE Applied based in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA. He is petrophysicist with an exploration and production
Technology Workshop on Coiled Tubing Drilling. Operations Engineering Supervisor for the Fort Worth company before joining Schlumberger.
He serves on the Journal of Petroleum Technology basin in northern Texas. He joined Devon in 2002 as
editorial committee. reservoir engineering supervisor after many years in
the industry with Mitchell Energy and has worked in
reservoir and production engineering in the Barnett
Shale eld since 1995. Eugene received a BS degree in
petroleum engineering from Texas A&M University,
College Station.

62 Oileld Review
Michael Herron is a Scientic Advisor working on Tobias Judd, based in Mexico City, is Schlumberger Shahril Mokhtar is District Technical Engineer for
applications of geochemical and statistical methods Well Services Technical Engineer for the Mexico and Schlumberger, based in Abu Dhabi, United Arab
for reservoir interpretation problems at Schlumberger- Central America (MCA) GeoMarket area. He is respon- Emirates (UAE). Before taking this position in June
Doll Research in Connecticut. Before joining sible for integrated hydraulic fracturing initiatives and 2005, he was the DESC engineer for PETRONAS
Schlumberger in 1982, he studied the chemical production optimization with PEMEX (Petrleos Carigali Sdn Bhd (PCSB) in Kemaman, Malaysia.
stratigraphy of polar ice cores as part of his doctoral Mexicanos) operations. He also provides technical He was responsible for PCSB and Carigali Triton
work at the State University of New York at Buffalo, support for well services contracts. Tobias joined the Operating Company technical and commercial
where he received a PhD degree in geological sciences. company in 1997 as a stimulation eld engineer in El projects including PowerCLEAN and LiteNET coiled
Mike also has a BA degree in chemistry from the Tigre, Venezuela. He also worked in various locations tubing systems. He joined Schlumberger in 2001 as a
University of California, San Diego. in Argentina and Brazil as engineer-in-charge, DESC* coiled tubing eld engineer and worked in Malaysia,
Susan Herron has served as Program Manager, Nuclear design and evaluation services for clients fracturing Indonesia, UAE, Scotland and Thailand. Shahril
Program, in the Sensor Physics department at engineer and eld service manager before taking his earned a BE degree (Hons) in mechanical and
Schlumberger-Doll Research in Connecticut, since current post in 2004. He is a graduate of the University aeronautical design engineering from the University
1998. The program focuses on the development of new of Colorado, Boulder, USA, with a BS degree in chemi- of Brighton, England.
technology and measurement systems, and nuclear cal engineering. Jessica Pedota is a General Field Engineer and DESC
modeling with emphasis on nuclear spectroscopy and John Lassek is Product Development Manager for engineer for Schlumberger Well Intervention Services,
sourceless logging. Since joining the company in 1984, Schlumberger in Sugar Land, Texas. His responsibilities Anchorage, where she writes procedures for well
she has worked primarily on development of applica- include managing market introductions of new prod- integrity work and other well operations including
tions for nuclear spectroscopy. She developed interpre- ucts and services, focusing on developing business e-line, cementing and coiled tubing. She also provides
tation techniques for quantifying lithology and matrix plans, and marketing, training and documentation for technical assistance for coiled tubing operations for
properties from elemental concentrations and for inte- each product. After receiving a BS degree in petroleum BP Prudhoe Bay, Alaska operations. Jessica joined the
grating nuclear spectroscopy with conventional logs for engineering from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, company as a eld engineer in 2002 at Prudhoe Bay
rapid formation evaluation. Susan holds a BA degree in USA, he joined the company in West Texas as a eld after internships in Prestonsburg, Kentucky, USA,
geology from Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts, engineer performing cementing and stimulation and Prudhoe Bay/Kenai. She holds a BS degree in
USA, and MS and PhD degrees in geological sciences operations. He worked in Indonesia and the Java Sea chemical engineering from Michigan Technological
from the State University of New York at Buffalo. as a stimulation specialist before transferring to University, Houghton.
Stephen Hill, based in Sugar Land, Texas, is a Oklahoma as a district technical engineer and then as Jai Pokhriyal is the PowerCLEAN Product Champion
Schlumberger Senior Engineer working for Coiled regional engineering manager responsible for cement- for Schlumberger in Sugar Land, Texas. He began his
Tubing Services in the CoilSOLUTIONS group where he ing, stimulation and coiled tubing projects for US Land career as an offshore and onshore drilling engineer
is currently responsible for tool development on the East. He also worked as technical projects leader for with Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd., India, and
BridgeFRAC project. He continues to support Schlumberger Data and Consulting Services and was later worked as a research assistant at the University
PowerCLEAN* engineered ll removal service and is responsible for evaluation of well completions. of Wyoming in Laramie. He has a BS degree in
the coiled tubing representative for both the Tulsa In 2004, John transferred to Houston as a product mechanical engineering from Maulana Azad College of
University Drilling and Research Projects and the champion for innovative uid products before taking Technology, Bhopal, India, and an MS degree in petro-
Coiled Tubing Consortium at the University of his current post. leum engineering from the University of Wyoming.
Oklahoma. Before joining the company in 2000, Bill Lesso, Casing Drilling Advisor, works for Jai joined Schlumberger as a eld engineer in 1997
Stephen worked as a graduate research assistant at Schlumberger Drilling and Measurements in Houston. in Alice, Texas, where he designed, executed and
Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, USA, and as He is currently working with ConocoPhillips in deploy- evaluated cementing services. He later worked as
an engineer for the National Institute of Standards ing casing directional drilling in Norway and China. cementing cell leader and as eld service manager,
and Technology, Gaithersburg, Maryland, USA. He He joined the company in 1976 as a eld engineer in offshore cementing, before moving to well production
received a BS degree in general science from Dayton, Texas, after receiving a BS degree in mechani- services and coiled tubing in 2004.
Morehouse College in Atlanta, and BS, MS and PhD cal engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. Mads Rdsj, based in Stavanger, works as Drilling
degrees in mechanical engineering from the Georgia Since then, Bill has held positions in wireline, well ser- Engineer, Well Integrity Delivery Team Leader for BP
Institute of Technology. vices and drilling and measurements. He has managed Norge AS. He is responsible for delivering and design-
Martn Jordn is a Petrophysicist in the Reservoir horizontal and geosteering projects in Malaysia, UK, ing all casing and liner strings on the Valhall Flank
Department of the Southern Central Division of Latin America and several USA locations. He became development (VFD) in the North Sea. Mads joined
Petrleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA), where his involved in casing drilling after lling a visiting posi- the company in 2002 after earning an MS degree in
responsibilities include technical support in petro- tion at Schlumberger Cambridge Research, England. geosciences and petroleum technology from the
physical and geological evaluation of wells drilled in M. J. Loveland is a Well Integrity Supervisor for Norwegian University of Science and Technology
the Apure basin, including the Guata eld. He gradu- ConocoPhillips in Kuparuk, Alaska. She has worked in in Trondheim. Before taking his current position,
ated as an engineer in geology from the Universidad the industry for 15 years, eight of which have been in he worked as an offshore drilling engineer, an
de Oriente in Ciudad Bolivar, Venezuela, and began Kuparuk, in various operations analytical engineering onshore CT job ofcer on the VFD and an offshore
his career as a wireline eld engineer and log analyst and production engineering assignments. She earned a completion engineer.
for Halliburton in Las Morochas, Venezuela. In 2001, BS degree in petroleum engineering from University of
Martn joined the Reservoir Department of PDVSA in Wyoming, Laramie, USA.
Barinas, Venezuela, where he has promoted the use Thomas M. Maher, Geological Manager, Apache Egypt
of numerous new technologies, in both open- and Companies, is based in Cairo. He is responsible for
cased-hole wells, to improve reserves evaluation and managing geological efforts in prospecting, operations
ultimate recovery. and petrophysical evaluation for Apache's active
exploration program in the western desert of Egypt. He
joined Apache Corporation in 1986 and, before taking
his current position in 2002, worked in Tulsa as a staff
geologist, geoscience manager and exploration and
development manager for the USA mid-continent
region. Thomas has a BS degree in geology from the
University of Massachusetts at Amherst, an MS degree
in geology from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and
an MBA degree from the University of Phoenix in Tulsa.

Summer 2005 63
Radovan Rolovic is Principal Engineer for Phil Sullivan, Principal Engineer for Schlumberger Xiaowei Weng is Schlumberger Senior Development
Schlumberger Stonehouse Technology Center in Well Services in Sugar Land, Texas, is working on Engineer in the Engineering Applications department,
Stonehouse, England, where he works on development improved uid loss control for fracturing uids and in Sugar Land, Texas. He is responsible for engineering
and manufacturing of rotary steerable advanced collaborating with researchers at Schlumberger and modeling support for software development in the
drilling systems for downhole applications. He joined Cambridge Research, England, and at Princeton areas of hydraulic fracturing, acid fracturing and
the company in 1997 as a senior engineer and project University, New Jersey, USA. Since joining the com- coiled tubing cleanout. Prior to joining the company
leader for the Dowell Coiled Tubing Product pany in 1994 as a development engineer for Dowell, in 1999, he worked as a senior engineer in fracturing
Development group in Rosharon and Sugar Land, he has worked on uid systems, ber-assisted trans- technology and eld design support for ARCO E&P
Texas. He worked on development of new products, port uids, high-temperature ClearFRAC* polymer- Technology. Xiaowei holds a BS degree from the
including CoilCAT* coiled tubing computer-aided free frac uid and coiled tubing cleanout operations. University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei,
treatment, CoilCADE* coiled tubing design and Phil has a BS degree from the University of Virginia, and MS and PhD degrees from the University of Texas
evaluation software, PipeSAVER* coiled tubing storage Charlottesville, USA, and MS and PhD degrees from at Austin, all in engineering mechanics.
inhibition system and PowerCLEAN service. He trans- Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, all in Jim White is a Petrophysical Advisor for
ferred to Schlumberger Drilling and Measurements in mechanical engineering. Schlumberger UK, based in Aberdeen. He provides
2004. Radovan holds a BS degree from the University Lloyd Tabor is Schlumberger Account Manager for interpretation support for new wireline sensors cur-
of Montenegro in Podgorica, an MS degree from the Devon Energy in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. There he rently being deployed in the North Sea. After joining
University of Belgrade, Serbia & Montenegro, and a is responsible for initiating, supporting and network- the company in 1974, he spent four years as a eld
PhD degree from the University of Tulsa, all in ing all Schlumberger business in Devons western and engineer in the Middle East. Since then he has
mechanical engineering. central US divisions. After earning a BS degree in worked in various eld management, marketing and
Erik Rylander, Schlumberger Product Champion for chemical engineering from Louisiana State University, interpretation support positions in Scotland,
the DecisionXpress* petrophysical evaluation system, Baton Rouge, he joined Schlumberger, then Dowell, as Denmark and Norway, where he also worked as a
is based in Clamart, France. He joined the company in a eld engineer in Lafayette, Louisiana. He worked in consultant for the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate.
1995 as a junior eld engineer in Duncan, Oklahoma, various locations as development engineer, operations During the last 15 years he has developed an extensive
and then moved to Equatorial Guinea and Nigeria as a manager and oileld services senior sales engineer knowledge base of formation evaluation methods
eld engineer (1996 to 1997). He spent the next four before assuming his current post. During his career, using the latest logging-while-drilling and wireline
years as an MDT* Modular Formation Dynamics Lloyd has worked on cementing, fracturing and new sensors, particularly when applied to the reservoirs
Tester specialist eld engineer with Gulf Coast technology implementation and was responsible for of northwest Europe. Jim has a BS degree in physics
Special Services. Before taking his current position in introducing CoilFRAC* stimulation through coiled from Imperial College of Science, Technology and
2004, he served three years as eld service manager tubing service and ClearFRAC uids to Equitable Medicine in London.
in that location. Erik obtained a BS degree in engi- Resources and Columbia Energy in the eastern USA. Dean Willberg is Senior Program Manager and
neering with an electrical engineering specialty from Ariel Valenzuela Muoz works for PEMEX in Reynosa, Principal Engineer for the Schlumberger Well Product
Colorado School of Mines in Golden. Mexico, where he is in charge of the Fracturing Services Center in Moscow and at the Novosibirsk
Alfredo E. Sanchez Mogollon is a Schlumberger DESC Optimization department. After receiving a degree in Technology Center, where he works on developing
engineer, focusing on fracturing services, for PEMEX petroleum engineering from Instituto Politcnico hydraulic fracturing and stimulation technologies.
Exploracin y Produccin and Petrleo Brasileiro SA Nacional in Mexico City, he joined the company in He joined the company at the Tulsa Technology
(PETROBRAS) in Reynosa, Mexico. He provides in- 1985 to work in petroleum engineering, production, Center in 1996 as a product development engineer
house support including design and evaluation of workover and well completions. Prior to taking his and later worked in product development at the Sugar
fracture stimulation treatments, periodic service current position, Ariel was assigned to the design and Land Product Center, Texas. Dean holds a BS degree
quality reviews and tracking and database maintenance. perforation department where he was responsible for from the University of Alberta, Edmonton, and a PhD
He began his career with Schlumberger Well Services the design, supervision and evaluation of hydraulic degree from California Institute of Technology,
in 2000 as a eld engineer in Rock Springs, Wyoming. fracturing treatments for the Burgos basin. Pasadena, both in chemistry.
He worked on uids rheology, laboratory analysis and Tommy M. Warren is the Director, Casing Drilling Wei Zhou, Schlumberger Well Services Sales Manager
coordinated fracturing crews as Well Production Research and Engineering, for Tesco Corporation in for the China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan (CHG)
Services cell leader before transferring to Reynosa Houston. He joined Tesco in 1999 after 26 years with GeoMarket region, is based in Beijing. Before this, he
in 2003. Alfredo earned a BS degree in materials Amoco in operations and drilling research. His was an in-house DESC engineer for BP in Stavanger,
science and engineering from Universidad Simn research in roller-cone bit mechanics, drag bit where he provided technical support to CT SEAS*
Bolvar in Caracas. mechanics, directional drilling, drillstring mechanics, Coiled Tubing Safer, Efcient Automated Solutions
Chakib Sbiti, Executive Vice President of high-speed drilling systems, rock mechanics and the and to conventional coiled tubing units for the BP
Schlumberger Oileld Services (OFS), manages oil- Casing Drilling system has led to the publication of Valhall eld operation. He introduced and engineered
eld technology development and all operations in 60 technical papers and 35 patents. Tommy earned the PowerCLEAN cleanout system to the Valhall ank
the OFS business segment worldwide. Prior to assum- BS and MS degrees in mineral engineering from the development post-fracture proppant cleanout process.
ing this position in 2003, he was president, Middle University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, USA, and was Wei joined Dowell Schlumberger in 1997 in Shekou,
East and Asia, Schlumberger OFS for two years. He selected as a University of Alabama Distinguished China, as a coiled tubing eld engineer and later
also served as director of personnel, Oileld Services, Engineering Fellow in 1994. He served as chairman worked in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, as a general eld
Paris; and vice president, Wireline & Testing, Europe, of the SPE 1999 Annual Technical Conference and engineer before moving to Stavanger. He is a graduate
Africa and the Mediterranean. Chakib joined Exhibition, was an SPE Distinguished Lecturer in of Tsinghua University, Beijing, with a BS degree
Schlumberger in 1981 as a eld engineer after 1999 and is currently the chairman-elect of the SPE in engineering.
studying electrical engineering in France. Publications coordinating committee and member of
An asterisk (*) is used to denote a mark of Schlumberger.
R. D. (Bob) Strickler, who is based in Houston, is the IADC/SPE Drilling Conference program commit- Casing Drilling is a registered trademark of Tesco Corporation.
Staff Drilling Engineer for ConocoPhillips South Texas tee. He was the recipient of the 1997 SPE Drilling
Business Unit. Currently, he is involved in planning Engineering Award.
and operations for ConocoPhillips Casing Drilling
Program. He joined Conoco in 1988 and has 27 years
of experience in planning, supervising and managing
production and drilling operations. He has worked
in offshore, shallow water and land areas in the
USA and internationally. Bob has a BS degree in
petroleum technology.

64 Oileld Review
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Summer 2005 65
Coming in Oilfield Review

Managing Gas-Condensate
Reservoirs. A retrograde gas-
condensate fluid drops out liquid
hydrocarbon when the fluid drops
below its dewpoint pressure. The
condensation can occur in the
formation and create a condensate
bank that decreases production; or Pandoras Breeches: Women, Understanding Renewable The Big One: The Earthquake
it can happen in the wellbore, loading Science and Power in the Energy Systems That Rocked Early America and
up the well with the heavier phase Enlightenment Volker Quaschning Helped Create a Science
and often requiring intervention to Patricia Fara Earthscan Publications Ltd. Jake Page and Charles Officer
maintain production. This article Pimlico 8-12 Camden High Street Houghton Mifflin Company
describes efforts to maintain well Random House London NW1 0JH England 215 Park Avenue South
20 Vauxhall Bridge Road 2005. 272 pages. $39.95 paperback; New York, New York 10003 USA
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reservoir pressure. 2004. 224 pages. $20.00 (paperback) ISBN 1-8440-7128-6 ISBN 0-618-34150-1
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The Pressures of Drilling and This book provides basic information The three largest earthquakes to strike
Production. Geophysical pressure Written by a historian of science at about various renewable energy systems, the continental United States occurred
development is rooted in the Earths Cambridge University, the book traces including their function and practicality in 1811 and 1812 near New Madrid,
beginning. Millions of years later, womens participation in European in various applications. This updated Missouri. This book provides a brief his-
E&P companies predict, measure science during the 17th and 18th English version of the classic 1998 text tory of the science of seismology and a
and manage pressure while drilling centuries. The author has selected includes a CD-ROM with computer sim- basic primer on the current state of
wells and producing reservoirs. This eight women whose lives were entwined ulations that support the text. The top- geological knowledge. Using eyewitness
with those of famous male scientists ics include a basic rationale for using accounts and new scientific findings,
article reviews the development of during the Enlightenment; she also renewable energy (such as biomass, the authors tell the story of the quakes
geopressure systems, and then interweaves stories of many other hydroelectricity, geothermal and tidal and present theories on their causes,
discusses the risk and interdepen- women who also made significant systems), and some of the most promis- outlining how the New Madrid earth-
dencies of formation pressure on contributions to the sciences. ing systems such as solar radiation, quakes contributed to the creation of
drilling, production and hydrocarbon photovoltaics and wind power. The the modern science of seismology.
recovery. Case histories show how Contents: economics of renewable energy
drillers and engineers are using Pandora/Eve/Minerva: Prologue; resources is also discussed. Contents:
advanced techniques for pressure Women/Science; Lady The New Madrid Quakes: The World
prediction, detection and management Philosophy/Francis Bacon Contents: Gone Mad; Dreams, Omens, and
allowing wells to be drilled more In the Shadows of Giants: Elisabeth Energy, Climate Change and War; Pendulums and Polymaths
safely, boreholes to be placed more of Bohemia/Ren Descartes; Renewable Energy Sources The Earthquake Hunters: Myths,
accurately, and reservoirs to be Anne Conway/Gottfried Leibniz; Solar Radiation Maps, and Machines; Finding
managed for maximum oil and milie du Chtelet/Isaac Newton Solar Thermal Water Heating Faults; Intensity, Magnitude, and
gas recovery. Domestic Science: Jane Dee/John Stars; Geophysical Leaps Forward
Photovoltaics
Dee; Elisabetha Hevelius/Johannes Looking Back, Looking Forward:
Hevelius; Caroline Herschel/ Wind Power Rifts, Plumes, and Reservoirs; The
Formation Evaluation While
Drilling. A higher standard for William Herschel; Marie Paulze Economics Art of Prediction; False Prophets;
formation evaluation while drilling Lavoisier/Antoine Lavoisier Simulation Programs and the CD- New Madrid Redux
has now been established. An Under Sciences Banner: Priscilla ROM of the Book Notes, Index
innovative new tool design makes Wakefield/Carl Linnaeus; Mary Appendix, Bibliography, Index
thorough formation evaluation Shelley/Victor Frankenstein; Epilogue
Notes, Bibliography, Index The book is written to be enjoyed
possible without the use of chemical by both earth scientists and those not
radioactive sources, reduces the rig Excellent illustrations and
graphs are complemented by an in this field, and in this respect the
time used to make up and break Undermining the concept of book is completely successful. There
accompanying CD-ROM that displays
down the bottomhole assembly, and heroism in science, Pandoras Breeches all of the figures in the book plus 19 are excellent explanations of the
enables higher rates of penetration represents subaltern history of science relevant software programs. The development of seismic methods for
during logging. Highlighted in this at its best. The stories Fara has bibliography is extensive. This work earthquake study. References are given
article, the integrated logging-while- collected should also encourage the is for all students of the worlds for technical and non-technical
drilling collar delivers new measure- recovery and reappraisal of the energy dilemma. publications.
contributions of many other scientific
ments, along with significant safety Comer JC: Choice 42, no. 9 (May 2005): 162.
Haberfield J: AAPG Bulletin 89, no. 4
workers who are now forgotten.
and efficiency advantages, to asset (April 2005): 551552.
teams around the world. Gopinathan A: Science 307, no. 5709
(January 28, 2005): 522.

66 Oilfield Review

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